I have one more book to share with you for this week. Christie’s: The Jewellery Archives Revealed by Vincent Meylan is a treasure trove of royal jewelry secrets. The author was given permission to view Christie’s extensive archives and this book is the result of his painstaking research.
The book is cleverly divided by themes. Each chapter takes on a specific theme and then breaks it down even further by the royal, their jewelry and the history of the jewelry. For example the first chapter is titled Guillotine Diamonds and discusses Madame La Comtesse du Barry and her jewelry. The second chapter focuses on the murdered queens/kings: Mary, Queen of Scots, Marie Antoinette of France, Draga of Serbia and Ludwig II and their valuables.
There are a number of well-written and well-researched articles tracing the history of royal jewelry. The photographs are plentiful and spectacular! The author also includes plenty of illustrations, portraits and old sales receipts/slips from the auctions. It’s really a gem of a book and I’ve gotten lost for hours within its pages.
It’s hard to choose which royal jewelry book to buy, but this one really is a good choice. I’ve met many new royals (such as Draga) that I wouldn’t have known otherwise. Besides being a book about jewelry, I’d say it’s also about world history. After all, the jewelry traveled through the centuries and witnessed plenty of upheaval and revolution.
For today, I thought I’d share a few royalty-related articles. For me, it’s always fun to talk about royal history. If you feel the same, leave a comment and let me know your thoughts.
What remains of France’s aristocracy? – This short video by France 24 is super interesting and fun. It’s about France’s former aristocracy and their grand homes. There is also a tour of an aristocratic chateau and the France 24 journalist meets with an aristocratic family to talk about what it’s like to maintain a chateau.
Ten questions to ask about tiaras. – If you are ever in need of purchasing a tiara (how I wish this was a real problem for me), then read this insightful article by Christie’s.
Germany’s ex-royal family win legal case against historian. – Truly, I’m not sure how I feel about this case. The courts have sided with the Hohenzollern Family in their lawsuit against a historian. Perhaps I do not fully grasp the legal issue at play, but I’m worried that this ruling may lead to future historians and journalists being censored. What do you think?
A royal engagement. – Grand Duke George of Russia is engaged to be married. If you are interested to learn about his imperial Romanov lineage, read my post about it here.
Current royal read. – I’m currently reading Chère Annette: Letters from Russia 1820-1828. It’s a compilation of letters written by Empress Maria Feodorovna of Russia to her daughter, Grand Duchess Anna Pavlovna. She married the Prince of Orange and moved to the Netherlands. It’s a charming compilation of letters because it’s evident how much the Empress loved her daughter. Are you reading a royal history book?
If you like reading about royal history, then you may enjoy listening to podcasts about royals. There are a number of excellent podcasts I subscribe to that I think you might find of interest.
The Exploress Podcast is incredibly well-researched and a fun way to learn about ancient historical women. The recreations of historical dialogue are entertaining and a must-listen. Though there are many episodes on historic noble women, some of the women featured are commoners. It’s still an entertaining resource and I highly recommend the outstanding four-part series on Cleopatra. Plus, the website has a page devoted to book recommendations. Enjoy!
Noble Blood is a podcast about the footnotes of royal men and women; the stories we don’t learn in school. It’s well-researched and told in a narrative style, as if a good friend is sitting near you and whispering a gossipy tale. The episodes are about tyrannical royals, murdered royals and tragic princesses. Very entertaining. I can’t recommend it enough.
The History Chicks is run by two very good friends who enjoy talking about historical women. They began the podcast ten years ago because they couldn’t find any podcasts devoted entirely to women. Though a good number of royals are featured, they are not the main focus of this podcast. However, it’s worth perusing their catalog since it features many episodes of interest to royal history fans. I recommend their episodes on Gilded Age Heiresses, Catherine the Great and Empress Sisi of Austria.
Last but not least, if you enjoy royal fashion, then you may enjoy listening to Dressed. The two hosts are experts in fashion and textiles and are a joy to listen to. Their well-researched episodes feature everything from the history of haute couture to Oscars fashion and feature a good amount of interviews with experts.
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.
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