The Dutch royal vaults include a collection of aquamarine and diamond jewels that belonged to King Willem-Alexander’s grandmother, Queen Juliana. Today, we’re taking a closer look at her aquamarine sautoir necklace.
The necklace features square-cut aquamarines and diamonds set in platinum, with diamond floral elements set between the aquamarines. A rectangular aquamarine is suspended from the necklace as a pendant. The piece first pops up in royal hands in the 1920s, but its design suggests that it may have been made a decade or so earlier.
On April 30, 1927, Queen Emma of the Netherlands presented the necklace to her granddaughter, Queen Juliana, as an eighteenth-birthday gift. Above, Juliana is pictured wearing the necklace in its long sautoir form in December 1949, after she became monarch. Juliana also received an Art Deco-style diamond and aquamarine tiara from her parents on the same birthday, and she would later often wear the two jewels together, though they weren’t made as a set. Later, when she married Prince Bernhard, she received even more aquamarines as wedding presents.
Juliana usually wore the necklace as a complete sautoir, as she does above, but the piece can also be worn in a second shorter setting. When worn in this shortened form, the remaining portion of the jewel can be converted to be worn as a bracelet.
The necklace has been worn by many other members of the Dutch royal family as well, usually in the shorter setting. Here, in July 1959, Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands wears the shorter setting of the necklace with her mother’s aquamarine tiara and earrings during a state visit from King Baudouin of the Belgians to the Netherlands. (Princess Irene, standing beside her, is wearing rubies, including part of the Ruby Peacock Parure.)
Today, you’ll most often see the aquamarine necklace on Queen Máxima, who also prefers to wear it in the shorter setting. Here, she wears it with the aquamarine tiara and earrings for a state visit from Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxembourg in April 2006.
In February 2007, while she was pregnant with Princess Ariane, Máxima wore the necklace with the earrings and an aquamarine brooch (also from Juliana’s collection) for a dinner during a state visit to Turkey. Interestingly, this outing of the piece appears to feature a third, “in between” setting for the necklace: slightly longer than the shortest version, but shorter than the complete sautoir.
And here, in July 2011, Máxima wears the necklace with Juliana’s tiara, earrings, and rectangular brooch for the reception following the wedding of the Prince and Princess of Monaco. Look closely at Máxima’s right wrist in this photo, and you’ll also spot the bracelet made from the remainder of the sautoir necklace.