Our tiara-filled celebration of the upcoming 80th birthday of Queen Silvia of Sweden has arrived in the 1980s, where we have a fabulous appearance from a tiara that was essentially created through Silvia’s own innovation.
We’ve jumped from the start of King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia’s marriage to the spring of 1983. By this time, the couple had welcomed all three of their children—Crown Princess Victoria, Prince Carl Philip, and Princess Madeleine—and had celebrated their sixth wedding anniversary. In March 1983, the couple headed to Spain for a state visit with two of his cousins, King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia of Spain. (King Juan Carlos, Queen Sofia, and King Carl XVI Gustaf are all great-great-grandchildren of Queen Victoria.) They hosted a return dinner for the Spanish royals, including Infanta Elena, at the Swedish Embassy in Madrid on the second night of the state visit.
For the dinner, Silvia wore a light purple evening gown with sparkling scallop embellishments on the bodice and the skirt, paired with the family’s iconic set of diamond and amethyst jewels.
Here’s a look at the circlet-style tiara that forms part of the Napoleonic Amethyst Parure. The diamond and amethyst jewels date to the earliest decade of the nineteenth century, forming part of the jewelry collection of Empress Josephine of France. She gave the suite to her daughter-in-law, Princess Augusta of Bavaria, who later passed them along to her own daughter, Princess Josephine of Leuchtenberg. After Josephine married Crown Prince Oscar of Sweden in 1823, the amethysts traveled with her to Stockholm, becoming part of Sweden’s royal jewelry collection.
Interestingly, though, the tiara from the set wasn’t originally a tiara. It was designed as a large necklace. You can see Princess Christina wearing the necklace in its original form in the photograph above, which was taken at the Nobels in December 1968. After Silvia married Carl Gustaf, however, she became deeply interested in everything linked to the family’s jewelry. She was the one who had the idea to place the necklace, which was a little cumbersome, on a tiara frame, making the amethyst set into a complete parure.
Queen Silvia wore the jewel in its new tiara setting for the first time in 1979, and she almost immediately placed it in her regular gala jewelry rotation. For the 1983 return dinner, she wore the tiara with the earrings and brooch from the parure.
Her necklace also comes from the set. After Silvia had the original necklace from the suite transformed into a tiara, the bracelets from the set were arranged so that they could be worn together as an alternate necklace, either with or without a diamond and amethyst pendant from the parure.
Silvia has continued to wear the amethyst tiara over the years, and it’s been worn by numerous other family members as well. Crown Princess Victoria, Princess Madeleine, and Princess Sofia have all taken the tiara for a spin. Above, Queen Silvia wears the parure in a glamorous appearance at the Nobels in 2022.