Of all the Danish royal tiaras included in the Golden Jubilee jewelry exhibition, you may have noticed that one was conspicuously missing. That’s because this tiara and its coordinating jewels, set with gorgeous diamonds and emeralds, is part of the nation’s crown jewel collection.
Many of Denmark’s incredible crown jewels, which are housed in Rosenborg Castle, date to the eighteenth century. They belonged to various queens and princesses. The original owner of the emeralds was Sophie Magdalene of Brandenburg (1700-1770), the German-Polish princess who became Queen of Denmark and Norway via her marriage to King Christian VI.
In 1839, King Christian VIII, a great-grandson of Christian VI and Sophie Magdalene, came to the throne of Denmark. His queen consort was his second wife, Caroline Amalie of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg. She’s pictured above in a detail of their coronation portrait. Check out those diamonds—including that interesting kokoshnik-shaped fringe tiara! Some of the diamond jewels, including the necklace and the floral brooch pinned near her shoulder, are still part of the Danish crown jewel collection today.
Around the time of the coronation in 1840, Queen Caroline Amalie worked with the jeweler C.M. Weisshaupt to renovate many of the eighteenth-century jewels in the royal vaults. Weisshaupt renovated the emeralds for the coronation festivities, adding additional gemstones that belonged to the King’s sister, Princess Charlotte of Denmark. (Some have also stated that the renovation of the set was intended to be an anniversary present. It’s possible: the coronation was held in June 1840, a few weeks after the couple’s 25th wedding anniversary.) The tiara and accompanying jewels feature a fascinating ribbon design, which sometimes also reminds me of flames. That’s certainly an appropriate frame for a gemstone renowned for its “green fire,” don’t you think?
Here’s a look at the other pieces from the tiara’s accompanying parure, taken by one of our generous readers, Annika, during her visit to Rosenborg Castle. The romantic ribbon design continues throughout the other pieces in the parure, which includes a necklace, a large brooch, and a pair of earrings.
In a recent documentary, Queen Margrethe II of Denmark credited her mother, Queen Ingrid, with reviving the use of the nineteenth-century emerald parure. While the previous queens consort (Louise, Lovisa, and Alexandrine) had not made significant use of the suite, Queen Ingrid very much believed that the jewels should be worn. Like the other crown jewels, there are stipulations involved with the use of the emeralds: they should be worn only by the reigning queen or queen consort, they should not be taken out of the country, and they should only be worn for the grandest of gala occasions. Above, Queen Ingrid obeys all three rules, wearing the emeralds in May 1957 for a theater gala in Copenhagen during a state visit from Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom.
When Queen Margrethe ascended to the throne in 1972, she became the wearer of the emerald tiara and parure. She has also reserved the emerald jewels for some of the grandest gala occasions of her reign. Here, in May 2004, she wears the emeralds (with a very festive evening gown!) for a gala dinner in Copenhagen during the wedding celebrations for Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary.
Margrethe loves to pair the earrings with a bright green evening gown from her collection. She wears the combination here in April 2010 for a gala concert event during her 70th birthday celebrations in Copenhagen.
Here’s another view of Margrethe wearing the emeralds during that gala event. She wore the entire parure: tiara, earrings, necklace, and brooch.
And here, Queen Margrethe wears the same gown with the emerald parure for the New Year’s Levee in Copenhagen on January 1, 2014. Because Margrethe only wears the emeralds on very special, formal occasions, you’re more likely to find them on display at Rosenborg Castle. But with her Golden Jubilee celebrations coming up next weekend, perhaps there’s a chance we’ll see her wear this jeweled parure in public once more?