Our first contest in our Nobel Tiara Prize tournament matches up early nineteenth-century sapphire splendor and early twentieth-century diamond dazzle! It’s Queen Silvia wearing the Leuchtenberg Sapphires in 2004 vs. Queen Silvia wearing the Connaught Diamond Tiara and the Russian Pink Topazes in 2008…
For our first iconic jewelry look of this tournament, we’re traveling back nearly 20 years to December 2004, when Queen Silvia arrived at the Nobel Prize ceremony wearing the family’s gorgeous antique sapphires.
For the Nobel Prize ceremony and banquet on December 10, 2004, Queen Silvia selected a shimmering gown by the couturier Jacques Zehnder. The color often reads “white” to me, but it’s apparently actually a very pale, icy green.
With the dress, she wore a parure of sapphire and diamond jewels that was almost 200 years old. The Leuchtenberg Sapphires, as they are known, were given to Princess Augusta, Duchess of Leuchtenberg by her mother-in-law, Empress Joséphine of France, in the winter of 1810-11. The sapphires were a gift to mark the birth of Augusta’s son, Prince Auguste. The set came to Stockholm with Augusta’s daughter, Queen Josefina of Sweden and Norway.
The set includes a fabulous diamond tiara with sapphire and diamond clusters arranged across the top of the piece. It’s a flexible diadem: it folds flat for storage, and it can be worn in various degrees of openness. The tiara is considered one of the most important jewels in the Swedish royal vaults, and it is currently reserved for Queen Silvia’s exclusive use.
Silvia also wore the grand necklace from the set, plus the large diamond and sapphire cluster brooch. She also added the suite’s earrings, a later addition made by repurposing a set of hair pins. (The original earrings from the parure were discarded during the reign of King Gustaf V of Sweden.)
She finished off the look with several bracelets and rings and an evening watch.
Our second look of the day features a mixture of twentieth-century and nineteenth-century jewels, worn by Queen Silvia at the Nobels in December 2008.
On December 10, 2008, Queen Silvia made an appearance at the Nobel celebration in Stockholm in a fairytale gown and jewels. Her dress was again made by Jacques Zehnder. The ice blue gown was richly decorated with gold and pink embroidery.
She combined jewels from three different eras of Swedish royal history with the outfit, wearing a tiara that belonged to the King’s grandmother, Princess Margaret of Connaught, pink topaz jewels that came to Sweden with his great-grandmother, Princess Victoria of Baden, and a bracelet that was worn by his great-great-grandmother, Princess Sofia of Nassau.
The Connaught Diamond Tiara, an intricate floral diadem that features large diamond drops, was one of the wedding gifts presented to Margaret of Connaught when she married Prince Gustaf Adolf of Sweden in 1905. The jewel later became a favorite of the present King’s mother, and the family still calls it “Princess Sibylla’s tiara.” It was the first tiara worn by Silvia when she joined the royal family in 1976.
She paired the tiara with the fabulous pink topazes that Victoria of Baden inherited from her Romanov great-grandmother, Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach. The pink topaz and diamond jewels were given to Maria Pavlovna by her mother, Empress Maria Feodorovna of Russia, to mark the birth of her daughter, Princess Augusta, in 1811.
Silvia also wore a pair of bracelets: a small diamond and sapphire bracelet on her right wrist and a grand diamond bracelet with a lattice pattern on her left. That all-diamond bracelet is a nineteenth-century piece that belonged to Queen Sofia of Sweden.