On Wednesday, Queen Sofia of Spain celebrates her 84th birthday. We’re joining in the celebrations by devoting our Sparkling Spotlight posts this week to some of her best gala jewels—starting off with a romantic tiara and an important heirloom necklace.
On February 9, 2009, the Spanish royal family welcomed President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner of Argentina to Madrid for a state visit. King Juan Carlos, Queen Sofia, Prince Felipe, and Princess Letizia hosted a state dinner in her honor at the Royal Palace on the first evening of the visit.
For the dinner, Sofia was elegant in a sparkling black evening gown accessorized with diamonds and pearls. She also wore the sash and star of the Order of the Liberator General San Martin, Argentina’s highest decoration.
Sofia’s jewels for the evening were a mix of the traditional and the modern, including a necklace that combines both of those design aspects.
She wore two important jewels connected to Queen Maria Cristina of Spain, the wife of King Alfonso XII and mother of King Alfonso XIII. The tiara, the Spanish Floral Tiara, was one of Maria Cristina’s wedding gifts from her husband, made by the British firm J.P. Collins in 1879. The unusual necklace, which features diamond and black pearl pendants, was purchased by Maria Cristina from Mellerio as a gift for her sister-in-law, María de la Paz of Bavaria. Generations later, the necklace was bought by King Juan Carlos and added back to the Spanish royal jewelry collection.
Sofia also wore her own modern diamond drop earrings, plus another piece of antique jewelry connected to her husband’s grandmother, Queen Ena. The brooch she used to secure her order sash is the diamond bow brooch from the joyas de pasar collection.
Queen Sofia finished off the ensemble with a diamond tennis bracelet, a diamond evening watch, and diamond rings on both hands.