The Duchess of Angoulême Emerald Tiara

© The Royal Archivist. Please do not duplicate.

The Duchess of Angoulême Emerald Tiara was created by Maison Bapst, jeweler to the French Court, for the only surviving child of King Louis XVI and Queen Marie Antoinette, Princess Marie-Thérèse Charlotte of France.

The tiara was created many years after the French Revolution; between September 1819 and July 1820 with stones already in the French Treasury. It’s made out of gold. The emeralds and diamonds are set in silver. The large center emerald weighs almost 16 carats. The tiara is set with 40 emeralds for a total weight of 79.12 carats. The emeralds are surrounded by over one thousand diamonds. (1,031 to be exact.)

Princess Marie-Thérèse, Duchess of Angoulême, may have been in need of regal jewelry because in 1799 she married an heir to the throne, her first cousin Louis Antoine, Duke of Angoulême, son of Louis XVI’s younger brother, Charles X. (As an aside, the Duke of Angoulême briefly reigned as Louis XIX for about 20 minutes, before he abdicated.)

© The Royal Archivist. Please do not duplicate.

Later, the emerald and diamond tiara became the favorite tiara of the beautiful Empress Eugénie, wife of Napoleon III. After the defeat of Napoleon III in 1870, the jewel became the property of the state. However, the French sold it in 1887, along with the other crown jewels.

In modern times, the tiara came into the possession of Lady Belinda Lambton, wife of the Conservative Defense Minster, Lord Lambton. Throughout Lady Lambton’s ownership, it was kept safe inside Wartski’s vaults. Before Lord Lambton’s death in 2006, it was sold to the Louvre, where it’s been on display ever since.

Resources Consulted

Tiaras: A History of Splendour by Geoffrey C. Munn

Wartski: The First One Hundred and Fifty Years by Geoffrey C. Munn

The Diamond known as “The Regent”

© The Royal Archivist. Please do not duplicate.

The cushion cut 140 carat diamond, known as The Regent, was discovered in India in 1698. The diamond was acquired by the French Regent, Philippe d’Orléans, in 1717 and has been on display at the Louvre since 1887.

According to the Louvre Museum:

Taking advantage of the economic prosperity that developed in France under the influence of John Law, Philippe d’Orléans, regent from 1715 to 1723, persuaded the Regency Council to purchase the diamond on 6 June 1717. At the time, The Regent outshone all known diamonds in the western world, and by 1719 it had already tripled in value. Today, it is still considered the finest diamond in the world; its color is “of the first water”, that is perfectly white and practically flawless. After the Regency, the gem remained one of the most precious of the Crown’s treasures and adorned all the crowned heads of France.

Louvre Museum

The Regent was worn for the first time by Louis XV at the reception of a Turkish embassy in 1721. It was then mounted temporarily on the king’s crown for his coronation ceremony on 25 October 1722. Shortly after his marriage to Maria Leczinska on 5 September 1725, Louis XV began wearing the diamond on his hat, a habit he continued throughout his reign. For the coronation of Louis XVI, on 11 June 1775, a new crown was made similar to that of Louis XV, featuring The Regent on the front. Like his grandfather, Louis XVI sported the gem on his hat. Stolen in 1792, then found again the following year hidden in some roof timbers, the diamond was used as security on several occasions by the Directoire and later the Consulat, before being permanently redeemed by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1801. The First Consul used it to embellish his sword, designed by the goldsmiths Odiot, Boutet and Nitot. In 1812 it appeared on the Emperor’s two-edged sword, the work of Nitot. Following changes in the ruling regime, the diamond was mounted successively on the crowns of Louis XVIII, Charles X and Napoleon III, and finally on the Grecian diadem of Empress Eugénie*.

Louvre Museum

Resources Consulted

Louvre Museum

*Painting of Empress Eugénie wearing the diadem with the Regent.

A Noble Diamond Brooch

 © Sotheby’s

Recently, Sotheby’s sold at their annual Royal & Noble auction a diamond brooch for £5,292.

The brooch is not marked by a specific jeweler, so it’s difficult to ascertain its maker or country of origin. However, it was listed as “Property of a Lady of Title” giving the diamond brooch an aristocratic, possibly even royal, provenance.

The total diamond weight is approximately 4.50 to 5.50 carats and was made circa 1800 or later. The brooch is designed in the shape of a flower and mounted en tremblant, which was the preferred jewelry style of that time period.

I think it’s stunning and I’d wear it in a heartbeat. I hope the lucky buyer enjoys it immensely.

A Tidbit About Queen Victoria’s Engagement Ring

© Royal Collection, via Wikimedia Commons. Queen Victoria wearing her wedding dress, painted by Franz Xaver Winterhalter.

Prince Albert wasn’t allowed to propose to Queen Victoria because she was a reigning monarch. However, after Queen Victoria proposed to Prince Albert, he gave her an emerald and ruby engagement ring set in gold. What’s unique about this ring? It’s in the shape of a snake. It was quite the fashion in Queen Victoria’s day to wear serpent-like rings. Serpents were thought to represent love so it makes sense that Prince Albert commemorated their engagement with such a ring.

The engagement ring is buried with Queen Victoria, but you can find a similar style here.

Queen Máxima’s Engagement Ring

© RVD – Erwin Olaf, Royal House of the Netherlands

One of my favorite royals is Queen Máxima of the Netherlands because of her vivaciousness. She wears clothes and royal jewelry with enthusiasm and sometimes her motto seems to be more is more is more. I love that about her and we’ll talk more about Queen Máxima and her tiaras another day. Today, it’s about her engagement ring.

Embed from Getty Images

King Willem-Alexander proposed to his love, Ms. Máxima Zorreguieta of Argentina, with a large oval-shaped orange diamond. The orange diamond is flanked by two emerald-cut white diamonds set in platinum and encrusted with numerous brilliant-cut diamonds. King Willem-Alexander was feeling patriotic with this particular diamond. As Prince of Orange it was fitting to gift his bride, the future Princess of Orange (now Queen), a rare orange diamond. I think the colored diamond is beautiful and suits her exuberant personality very well. What do you think?

Resources Consulted

Royal House of the Netherlands

Coronation Crown of Louis XV

© The Royal Archivist. Please do not duplicate.

It was tradition for French kings to have their own coronation crowns made. The coronation crown of Louis XV is composed of a satin cap encircled by a band of gilded silver and topped with diamonds forming a fleur-de-lis. It was worn only once, at the coronation in 1722. Shortly thereafter, the crown was delivered to the Royal Abbey Church of Saint-Denis (today it’s the Basilica of Saint-Denis) where it resided with other regalia. In 1729, Louis XV requested that the 282 diamonds, 64 gemstones and 237 pearls be replaced with paste. The crown, with its imitation paste jewels, has been at the Louvre since 1852. 

Resources Consulted

Permanent exhibit at Louvre Museum 

A Note About This Blog

Welcome!

I’ve always been enamored with royal ladies and their jewels. It began years ago with my beloved late mother who admired Queen Silvia of Sweden. I think Queen Silvia might even be my first royal memory. Then came Diana and her wedding gown and my fate as a royal watcher was sealed. 

As I grew older, I gained an appreciation for royal history. During my travels, I made a point to visit museums that housed items of royal provenance. This meant dragging my poor husband to numerous jewelry exhibitions, but he was a very good sport about it and even acted as my royal photographer. Afterwards, I penned little articles about the items I admired but kept them locked in a drawer. This blog is the culmination of years of visiting and admiring royal jewels and dusting off articles I’ve been writing.

How I wish I could tell my mother that I’m writing about all of her favorite queens…

Thank you for stopping by and reading.

Russian Nuptial Crown

© The Royal Archivist. Please do not duplicate.

The Russian Nuptial Crown was created in 1840. According to Stefano Papi’s Jewels of the Romanovs, English jeweler Nichols and Plincke used diamonds from the collection of Catherine the Great to create the nuptial crown. There is mention in Geoffrey Munn’s Tiaras: A History of Splendour that Nichols and Plincke maintained the Russian crown jewels. At one point, the nuptial crown was stored in a specially-fitted case with the firm’s name. After the firm shuttered in the 1880s, Fabergé was able to win the Imperial family’s patronage. Through the years, the nuptial crown was worn by numerous Romanov brides, the most recent high-profile being the Tsarina Alexandra in 1894.

To raise funds for their regime, the Bolshevik government sold the Russian Nuptial Crown in 1927. It was auctioned by Christie’s for £6,100 (a very high price at the time) and in 1966 made its way into Mrs. Marjorie Post’s collection.

Today the nuptial crown remains on display at her home, Hillwood, which opened to the public as a museum in 1977. The nuptial crown is probably one of the most significant pieces of the Russian crown jewels outside of Russia today. 

Resources Consulted

Permanent Exhibit at Hillwood Museum in Washington, D.C. 

Christie’s The Jewelry Archives Revealed by Vincent Meylan

Jewels of the Romanovs by Stefano Papi

Tiaras: A History of Splendour by Geoffrey C. Munn