Tomorrow, Princess Sofia of Sweden celebrates her birthday (and so do I!). In her honor, we’re taking a closer look at her personal tiara, a fascinating piece that has proved itself to be one of the most versatile tiaras in any European collection.
The start of this tiara’s story takes us back to June 2015, when Prince Carl Philip, the second child of King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden, married Sofia Hellqvist in Stockholm. The royal wedding was the third one for the family in five years, after the nuptials of his elder sister, Crown Princess Victoria, in 2010, and his younger sister, Princess Madeleine, in 2013.
On her wedding day, Princess Sofia wore a sparkling new tiara set with diamonds and emeralds. The palace shared that the tiara was a wedding gift from King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia. The jewel features petite diamond palmettes set on a slender diamond studded base and interspersed with diamond spikes.
The original setting of the tiara featured a rigid, coronet-style base, which sat perched atop Sofia’s head. Originally, Sofia wore the tiara with a set of emerald toppers. A year later, journalists from Scandinavian publications Aftonbladet and Svensk Damtidning shared some details about the source of the emeralds and diamonds used to make the jewel. Queen Silvia reportedly repurposed one of her own diamond and emerald necklaces, which had been a gift from a Thai prince, to make the new tiara. (To the best of my knowledge, the specific necklace used hasn’t been identified.) The necklace was sent back to Thailand to be reconfigured as a tiara, in part to keep the gift a secret.
After wearing the diamond and emerald tiara on her wedding day, Sofia wore it again a few months later at the Nobel Prize ceremony and banquet in Stockholm, pairing it with diamond and emerald earrings. Eventually, though, the tiara vanished from public view, with Sofia wearing other diadems from the family vaults instead for several prominent gala occasions.
In the autumn of 2017, the tiara reappeared—and it had undergone a makeover. Sofia debuted a new, more open version of the tiara at a gala dinner in Stockholm that November. On that occasion, she wore the tiara without its usual emerald toppers. In December, just a few weeks later, she wore it with a new set of pearl toppers for the Nobels.
The new configuration of the tiara has sides that slope more gently on Sofia’s head, as opposed to the rigid, coronet style of the original version. The new pearl toppers also opened up a wider world of color coordination with the tiara, allowing it to be worn with a much bigger selection of jewelry and gowns.
In the years since the tiara’s makeover, Sofia wore the jewel in all three known configurations: with pearl toppers, with emerald toppers, and with no toppers at all. Above, she wears the pearl version for the 2018 Nobels.
And here, in December 2019, she wears the all-diamond setting for the Nobel Laureate dinner at the palace on the night after the awards ceremony and banquet, pairing the jewel with the earrings from the Napoleonic Amethyst Parure.
Here, in November 2019, she wears the original emerald toppers with the new open-frame setting for another gala dinner at the Royal Palace in Stockholm.
In December 2019, Sofia also offered us another major surprise, wearing the tiara with a third set of toppers. She arrived for the Nobels on December 10 wearing the tiara topped with a set of gorgeous blue turquoises.
And, in December 2022, she did it again! She wore a set of briolette-cut blue topaz toppers with the tiara for the Nobels that year.
And in September of this year, Sofia wore a fifth set of toppers with the tiara. She added a new set of honey-colored citrines to the top of the tiara for the celebrations of her father-in-law’s Golden Jubilee. The possibilities for this tiara truly do seem endless. Here’s hoping we see even more different gemstones added to the collection—sapphires, rubies, pink topazes, amethysts, peridots…!
We’ve got a couple of glittering events coming up, including rumors of Diplomatic Reception tiaras in London tonight. Stay tuned: I’ll bring you the tiaras as soon as I can!