|The Stuart Tiara|
That stone is the Stuart Diamond, a diamond not without its own set of names (it is often called the Holland Diamond) and with one of those histories so extensive you just wish jewels could talk. The exact origins of the stone are a bit hazy, but it comes into our focus in 1690, when it was bought by King William III and Queen Mary II. William and Mary - he, the Prince of Orange, and she, an heir to the British throne from the House of Stuart - reigned jointly in England. The stone was rough when they acquired it, and Mary shunned the seller's advice to cut it into two stones by fashioning it into its pear shaped, rose cut, 39.75 carat form. Not only is it a large diamond, it is also a pale blue color with a greenish sea tint - a combination which makes this an incredibly rare and valuable stone.
The Stuart Diamond lived in England with the reigning couple but was returned to the Netherlands in 1702 after both had died and they had no children; it was determined to be the property of the House of Orange, though Mary's sister Queen Anne of England would sue to get it back (she failed, and it has remained in the Orange collection ever since).
|Queen Emma with the Stuart Diamond suspended as a pendant from her necklace|
The diamond has had a few documented settings in its life: Mary set it in a brooch, Princess Wilhelmina (wife of Prince Willem V) had London jewelers Rundell & Bridge set it as a pendant for a necklace, and a later jewel inventory recorded it as set in a clasp surrounded by 22 brilliants. In 1879 it once again became a pendant on a necklace made for Queen Emma, the wife of King Willem III.
|The brooch and necklace|
Queen Beatrix hasn't worn any of the three big pieces in this set in her reign. Why not? Well, that's anybody's guess I suppose. The tiara is huge, obviously, and though Beatrix will occasionally air out the major pearl and sapphire tiaras in the family collection, she seems to prefer the small and medium tiaras (it's often repeated that she suffers from headaches). She doesn't have much taste for large necklaces, either, though the fact that she's never worn the brooch does surprise me.
What do you think: too much, or never enough?
Photos: Netherlands Photo Archive