Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Jewel Tuesday: Pearl Button Tiara

In honour of Princess Maxima & Prince Willem-Alexander’s 10th year wedding anniversary.

Princess Maxima's Wedding Tiara Up-Close2

This tiara which consists of a thin band adorned with delicate diamond garlands topped with (detachable) diamond and pearl Flowers is also known as the Pearl Button Tiara.



The Flowers consist of large Bouton or button pearls (dome shaped pearls with a flat back) surrounded by petals set with diamonds.

Queen Sophie brought a diamond leaf (Fleurons) coronet with her when she married the Prince of Orange, the future King Willem III, in 1839. It is often mentioned that the base of that particular tiara was used to create the Pearl Button Tiara but the design is completely different from the current Pearl Button Tiara and it is safe to say that Queen Sophie's coronet was painted quite accurately as there were several portraits made of Queen Sophie through the years in which she was wearing the same tiara and in all of them the base was exactly the same. If the current tiara is indeed a remnant of a 19th century coronet, it has been altered beyond recognition.

The Pearl Buttons were brooches that had belonged to Queen Sophie. Some also had pearl drop pendants. There are quite a number of these brooches in different sizes in the collection.

Queen Wilhelmina attached several of these on the bodice of her dresses at the turn of the 19th century to fasten numerous strands of pearls.



The tiara with the Pearl Buttons was first seen in 1966 during a pre-wedding gala for Princess Beatrix. It was worn by Princess Armgard, mother in law of Queen Juliana. A year later, princess Margriet choose this tiara with a floral motif as her wedding tiara.



Queen Juliana wore this tiara on a few occasions and so did Queen Beatrix before she choose to wear this tiara for her investiture in 1980.Beatrix


She has since worn it very frequently. It does suit her wonderfully well.

In 2001 the base of this tiara was used to create a wedding tiara for Princess Maxima. The base was topped with five of Queen Emma's Diamond Stars.

Queen Emma’s Stars

Since this is Princess Maxima’s Wedding Tiara and she didn’t have pearls she had Queen Emma’s Stars.

Princess Maxima's Wedding Tiara Up-Close

Button Close-up


There are two sets of diamond star brooches in the collection. One set contains 5 ten-pointed graduated stars and the other contains 5 twelve-pointed graduated stars. Then there's yet another diamond star brooch with 12 points which was used by both Queen Wilhelmina and Princess Maxima to fasten their sash . Both sets of five stars have belonged to Queen Emma. She received them as wedding presents from her new relatives the Von Wieds and Von Sachsen-Eisenachs in 1879.

Diamond stars were quite in fashion then. Empress Elisabeth (Sissi) of Austria-Hungary had started wearing diamond stars (made by her Viennese Court Jeweller) in her hair a few years earlier and that had sparked quite a rage among royal ladies to wear diamond star jewellery. It's likely that the stars were purchased in Vienna.

The diamond stars are very versatile and can be worn as brooches, hair ornaments, pendants and earrings.

In 1890 King Willem III ordered a new tiara for Queen Emma. The Jeweller was requested to design the tiara so that it would fit five diamonds stars from one set. They were mounted on top of what I now refer to as Queen Emma's Diamond Tiara.

Queen Juliana has worn all stars (from both sets) together on her sash during the British State Visit in the 1950's

Button - JulianaButton - Margriet

(Queen Juliana, Princess Margriet)Button - Beatrix

(Queen Beatrix)

In 2001 the Dutch Court Jeweller created a wedding tiara with five stars for Maxima Zorreguita who would marry the Prince of Orange the following year. They used the base of the Pearl Button Tiara and mounted it with five 10 pointed stars.


Princess Maxima has worn diamond stars on several other occasions although in recent years they were no loner set on a tiara

Button - Maxima

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Tiara Tuesday: Emerald Parure Tiara

This, without any questions is my favourite Greek Royal Tiara!

Emerald Parure Tiara - Up-Close

The tale of this tiara begins with the giant emeralds it houses. Sixteen-year-old Grand Duchess Olga Constantinova of Russia brought a magnificent set of cabochon emeralds in varying sizes with her when she married King George I of Greece in 1867.

In Queen Olga's day, the emeralds were separate pieces and she wore them as such, pinning them to her dress and kokoshnik, and hanging them from her necklace and so on. It wasn't until their next wearer, Queen Elisabeth of Greece - her husband, King George II, was Olga's grandson and inherited the emeralds after her death in 1926 - took possession that they began to take the shape of the set we know today.

Emerald Parure Tiara - Elisabeth 2Emerald Parure Tiara - Elisabeth 1

Even then, it was a slow evolution in design. She wore a single emerald across her forehead as part of a leafy bandeau, as was the fashion at the time, and she wore multiple emeralds upright on a band of diamonds. Eventually, she had Cartier make her a kokoshnik-style tiara which uses 5 of the emeralds in between mirrored diamond "E" shapes - "E" for Elisabeth, naturally - with a band of diamonds surrounding the whole configuration. It's very close in form to a tiara owned by her sister, Queen Maria of Yugoslavia, so perhaps she had a little inspiration. Queen Elisabeth and King George II went through a period of exile (the Greek monarchy doesn't exactly have a history of stability, you see) and ended up divorced with no children. The customized "E" tiara stayed with the Greek family, though, and we next saw it worn by Queen Frederika, wife of King Pavlos I, younger brother of George II.

Emerald Parure Tiara - Frederika

By the time Frederika wore it, the tiara had changed yet again into the design we know today. The band around the top and edges had been removed. Frederika preferred to use the tiara as a necklace, often in combination with the massive Queen Sophie's Diamond Tiara that we just saw reappear. On Frederika, we also see the final parure which put the rest of the set of cabochon emeralds to use.

The parure consists of the tiara (which has 5 emeralds), a pair of earrings with emerald drops, a brooch made of more diamond "E" shapes and emeralds, and 5 independent emerald drops which can be suspended from the brooch. When Princess Anne-Marie of Denmark married Frederika's son King Constantine II, Frederika handed the emeralds over to the new queen.

Emerald Parure - Anne-Marie

In contrast to her late mother-in-law, Queen Anne-Marie uses the tiara as a tiara, not a necklace, and makes up a necklace to go with by suspending varying numbers of emerald drops or the entire emerald brooch from a diamond necklace. She often uses a necklace given to her by her mother, Queen Ingrid of Denmark, for this task. The necklace comes from Anne-Marie's grandmother, Queen Alexandrine, and was initially a longer piece. Ingrid split it in two, and gave one part of Anne-Marie and one part to her sister Benedikte.






Friday, January 20, 2012

My Top 15 Tiaras: #1: Cambridge Lover’s Knot


Was designed and executed in 1913 by E. Wolff & Co. for the royal jewelers Garrards, who were commissioned by Queen Mary, the Queen consort of King George V, to create a tiara based on the design of one owned by her  maternal grandmother Princess Augusta of Hesse, the Duchess of Cambridge, wife of Prince Adolphus, the Duke of Cambridge.SketchDetail

The Original Design and some detailing on the new Lover’s Knot.

The predominant neo-Gothic or Gothic-revival features in the Cambridge Lovers Knot Tiara are the 19 arches and the incorporation of 19 pearl spikes and 19 diamond spikes rising above the surface of the tiara. The shape of the drop-shaped emeralds, somewhat resembling the Vesica Piscis, a symbol of Christian art in the Medieval period, may also be considered as a Gothic-revival feature in the tiara.


(Princess Augusta of Hesse, the Grand Duchess of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, Queen Mary with upright pearls, Queen Mary without upright pearls)

When Princess Augusta, the eldest daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, married Prince Friedrich Wilhelm, the Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Stretlitz in 1843, the Duchess of Cambridge, gave the original Cambridge Lovers Knot Tiara as a gift to her daughter.

Princess Mary Adelaide, the second daughter of Prince Adolphus and Princess Augusta of Hesse-Cassel, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, married Francis, the Duke of Teck in 1866, and this marriage produced four children, a daughter who was the eldest followed by three sons. The daughter who was born in 1867, was Princess Victoria Mary of Teck, who married Prince George, the Duke of York, and second in line to the British Throne in 1893, a marriage that received the blessings of Queen Victoria, who was her godmother.

In 1913, Queen Mary commissioned the Crown Jewelers Messrs. Garrard & Co. to construct a tiara based on the design of the  Cambridge Lovers Knot Tiara, that was once owned by her maternal grandmother Princess Augusta of Hesse-Cassel, the Duchess of Cambridge.

Queen Mary died in 1953 at the age of 85 years, just one year after the death of her son, King George V. In her will, she left the Cambridge Lovers Knot Tiara to her granddaughter Queen Elizabeth II.Elizabeth

Queen Elizabeth II later gave the Cambridge Lovers Knot Tiara as a wedding gift to Princess Diana, at the time she married Prince Charles, the Price of Wales. The first official function for which Princess Diana wore the Cambridge Lover's Knot Tiara was the opening of the British Parliament in November 1981. However, after her divorce from the Prince of Wales the tiara was returned to Her Majesty the Queen.


Thursday, January 19, 2012

My Top 15 Tiaras: #2: The Antique Pearl Tiara

The Antique Pearl or Poiré Pearl Tiara is often described as a remnant of a diamond and pearl coronet or Kokoshnik style tiara that has belonged to Queen Anna Paulowna, born a Grand Duchess of Russia. Queen Anna's pearl tiara was made around 1840 by Russian Court Jeweller Duval for the investiture of  King Willem II.
Queen Anne
It is unknown what exactly happened to this tiara although it's very likely that it passed on to her daughter, Grand Duchess Sophie who inherited most of her jewels and/or that it was broken up to create new jewels (as was often done).
Grand Duchess Sophie (with the pearls for the tiara)
The present day tiara, although perhaps inspired by Queen Anna's tiara, was made around 1900 for Queen Wilhelmina. The diamond base of the tiara consists of a pattern of fine diamond set garlands topped with single set brilliant cut diamonds and fleurs de lils made from marquis and brilliant cut diamonds.
Queen Wilhelmina
Queen Juliana did not wear it often, perhaps because her daughter, Beatrix had been wearing it ever since her 21 birthday. Princess Margriet has also worn the tiara on several occasions
In 2001, Princess Maxima wore the tiara with just the base and no pearls.
Since then, Maxima has worn the tiara with pearls.

My Top 15 Tiaras: #3: Cartier Pearl Drop Tiara


This tiara was made by Cartier Paris as a wedding gift for Princess Charlotte, mother of Prince Rainier, grandmother of Prince Albert. It was a gift from her husband, Count Pierre de Polignac (Prince Pierre of Monaco, Duke of Valentinois, as he became).


(Yes, that is another tiara around her neck)

The tiara is made of platinum and white gold, and features diamond scroll work with hanging pear-shaped pearl drops, which is why I'm choosing to call it the Cartier Pearl Drop Tiara.There are no pictures (well, as far as I know, at least) of Princess Charlotte wearing this piece. There are also no pictures of Princess Grace wearing it, so we jump to Caroline. Because Grace never wore the tiara publicly, many have assumed it passed directly to Caroline. Princess Charlotte was said to not have approved of Grace, so perhaps she did not leave her jewels to her daughter-in-law. I have no idea if Charlotte's will was ever public, which would be the only way to know for sure. And I think you have to consider that Charlotte died in 1977, and Grace died in 1982 - not giving Grace many years to wear it, if indeed the tiara did pass to her to stay in the reigning line.


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

My Top 15 Tiaras: #4: Queen Alia’s Cartier Tiara


This picture is blurry. Yes, I know. I couldn’t find a close-up to this tiara. I love the design to this. It looks so funky and nice!


Alia was Hussein's third wife; his first two marriages ended in divorce. It was King Hussein that gave Alia this stunning diamond tiara from Cartier (which we will appropriately call Queen Alia's Cartier Tiara).

On a non-tiara note for just a second: Alia was quite an interesting figure. She was the first to really develop the role of queen consort in Jordan - the modern, working model that Queen Rania exemplifies today. She died tragically in a helicopter crash in 1977, leaving behind three children: Haya and Ali, and an adopted daughter named Abir. Hussein would marry once more after Alia's death, to Queen Noor.

Resuming gem discussion now: the tiara passed to her daughter, Princess Haya, who is now married to the Sheikh of Dubai. (You may recognize Haya from Ascot and other racing events, even if you're not a regular follower of these royal families.)


Princess Haya has loaned the tiara to Queen Rania rather frequently, particularly at the beginning of King Abdullah's reign when Rania didn't have a tiara collection of her own. (Genealogy check: Abdullah is the son of King Hussein and his second wife, Princess Muna. That makes him Haya's half brother.)


Rania shows off the versatility of the tiara with her varying hairstyles, but she also shows one of the downfalls: the halo effect.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

The First Wedding of 2012!


His Royal Highness Prince Hamzah Bin Al Hussein and Her Royal Highness Princess Basma have tied the knot in the presence of His Majesty King Abdullah II, Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah and Her Majesty Queen Noor Al Hussein.His Family

On the occasion of the signing of the marriage, King Abdullah II held a lunch banquet at Basman Palace in presence of the bride and groom’s families, along with senior officials.

His,Her Family

Princess Basma was born in Canada in 1985, where she got her BA degree in Management. She moved to Jordan in 2005, where she joined the Middle East Aviation Academy in Amman, where she got her flight instructor license. Princess Basma has a brother and sister who both live in Canada.Dress

This is the second marriage for Prince Hamzah. He married his cousin, Princess Noor bint Asem in 2003 and divorced in 2009. The couple have a daughter.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

My Top 15 Tiaras: #5: The Luxembourg Empire Tiara



Hilda & Charlotte

Grand Duchess Charlotte (right) and her sister Princess Hilda (left) on their wedding days

This regal gem made its public debut on the head of reigning Grand Duchess Charlotte when she married Prince Felix of Bourbon-Parma in 1919. Without exact confirmation of the piece’s origins, speculation points to two sources of family jewels: Grand Duchess Elizabeth Mikhailovna of Russia and Hilda, Grand Duchess of Baden. Elizabeth was the first wife of Charlotte’s grandfather and brought plenty of Romanov jewels with her when she married. With this sort of intricate design and overall opulence, it’s not hard to believe it could be of Russian provenance; indeed, this is the explanation you tend to see most frequently. The other option is Charlotte’s aunt Hilda, who left some jewels to Charlotte and her sisters. One of those sisters, also named Hilda, wore it for her wedding too.


Grand Duchess Charlotte

Charlotte continued to wear the tiara on important occasions during her reign, up to and including the day she abdicated in favor of her son, Jean. She then turned the grand tiara over to her daughter-in-law Joséphine-Charlotte, the new grand duchess.


Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte

Jean abdicated in favor of his son Henri in 2001, but it’s quite possible that Josephine-Charlotte didn’t feel as open to handing things down when it came to her daughter-in-law Maria Teresa. Whether it was out of respect or because she wasn’t given possession of the Empire Tiara, Grand Duchess Maria Teresa did not wear it publicly until after Joséphine-Charlotte’s death.

Maria Theresa

Grand Duchess Maria Teresa

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

My Top 15 Tiaras: #6: Amethyst Necklace Tiara

Princess Martha Louise - Amethyst Tiara

This Tiara has made an appearance on my blog before.

My Top 15 Tiaras: #7: Empress Josephine’s Emerald Tiara


This tiara originates with Empress Joséphine, first wife of Napoléon Bonaparte. It was made for her by the French jeweler Bapst, and is part of a parure that today includes a necklace, earrings, and two brooches. This symmetrical diadem incorporates geometric emeralds in a neo-classical diamond design, all mounted on a frame of gold and silver.
The line of passage of this gem is complex, but here are the highlights: it ended up in the hands of Queen Josephine, who was a granddaughter of the Empress and consort of King Oscar I of Sweden and Norway. From there it stayed in Sweden until it was given to Norway's Crown Princess Märtha by her parents, Prince Carl of Sweden and Princess Ingeborg of Denmark. (Märtha was the granddaughter of King Oscar II of Sweden and had married her cousin, Crown Prince Olav of Norway. Her children are the current King, Harald, and his sisters Astrid and Ragnhild.) Ingeborg received the tiara from Carl's mother, Queen Sofia of Sweden.

Crown Princess Martha

After Märtha's untimely death (at the age of 53), the tiara was worn by Princess Astrid. Astrid served as Norway's First Lady alongside her widowed father until her brother Harald married.Queen Sonja
Since then, the tiara has become a favorite of Queen Sonja. She's worn it in many official portraits and to many important events, including the weddings of Crown Prince Frederik, Crown Princess Victoria, and her son Crown Prince Haakon.

My Top 15 Tiaras: #8: Queen Ingrid’s Ruby Parure Tiara

Mary - Queen Ingrid's Ruby Parure Tiara This Tiara has made a appearance on my blog before.