11 April 2013

Tiara Thursday: The Dutch Sapphire Necklace Tiara

We’re in the official countdown to the abdication of Queen Beatrix and the inauguration of King Willem-Alexander now (April 30th!), and it’s officially Dutch Month here on the blog. Continuing our Dutch-themed features, we have yet another example of the jewel creativity of the Dutch house:
The Sapphire Necklace Tiara
The Sapphire Necklace Tiara is a smaller tiara made of sapphires in diamond surrounds topped by sapphires in pointed diamond surrounds. It’s composed mainly of the large necklace from the family’s assembled sapphire parure which has been placed on a tiara frame. The necklace is topped with small pieces taken from the necklace of another sapphire and diamond parure, a set that was given to Queen Wilhelmina as a wedding gift from her country in 1901. It was known that the set's enormous tiara had been permanently broken apart after Wilhelmina’s death to create smaller personal jewels for each of her four granddaughters (Beatrix, Irene, Margriet, and Christina), but the necklace’s whereabouts were unknown.
From left: Queen Juliana in the Mellerio necklace without pendant, and Princess Irene with pendant; Queen Wilhelmina in her wedding gift parure and the necklace in question. The small points all around the necklace are those used for the necklace tiara.
The new combination was first spotted on Princess Margriet in 2009, during a state visit from Chile. As of this writing, we have only seen the tiara on a handful of occasions: primarily on Margriet, but once on Princess Máxima during the 70th birthday celebrations of Queen Margrethe of Denmark. The tiara’s been used at some black tie occasions, which usually demand tiaras on a slightly smaller scale. We haven’t seen the necklace used in its original form since the tiara conversion, so it remains to be seen if it is a permanent change.
Princess Margriet and Princess Máxima
Necklace-to-tiara conversions are tricky business, and so are designs that try to combine various parts and pieces from a collection. They can end up looking sparse (see: Mary’s Wedding Tiara) or cobbled together (see: Sophie’s Wedding Tiara). But this one works perfectly – so well, in fact, that I’d say the tiara is an improvement on either original piece. This necklace was a bit cumbersome, and wasn’t getting much use anyway in these later years. And the pieces from the wedding gift parure add the height and dimension that a tiara requires.

Video: the tiara on Máxima at Queen Margrethe's birthday celebrations, close up around 4:35
This was a good addition to the Dutch family collection, since Queen Beatrix alone used the large Dutch Sapphire Tiara, but there are other sapphire jewels that could use a tiara to accompany them. All in all, an excellent conversion, I'd say.

What do you say: an excellent conversion, or better in necklace form?