25 April 2013

Tiara Thursday: The Mellerio Ruby Tiara

The Mellerio Ruby Tiara
Today’s tiara is yet another example of the depth and breadth of the Dutch collection. It comes from the workshops of famed Paris jeweler Mellerio dits Meller, whose skilled creations populate the collections of several royal and noble houses – and the massive Dutch vault has two, this Mellerio Ruby Tiara and the Mellerio Sapphire Tiara (interestingly, this one was also initially proposed to use sapphires). And it’s not the only ruby tiara in the collection, not even the only ruby parure, in fact, as it joins the Ruby Peacock Parure plus the ruby setting of Queen Emma’s Diamond Tiara and other smaller ruby jewels.
Left to Right: Queens Emma, Wilhelmina, and Juliana
Like Emma’s Diamond Tiara, this was ordered by King Willem III for his young wife, Queen Emma. It was made in 1889. The tiara includes three large scroll motifs in rubies and diamonds with two smaller motifs at the sides, all connected by three levels of trembling diamond strings.
Queen Beatrix
The scrolls and strings of diamonds are echoed throughout the parure, which today also has a necklace, bracelet, stomacher, brooch, earrings, and fan. But we rarely see full parures in use on the Dutch royal ladies today – they often take advantage of the extent of their collection and mix and match pieces from different sets.
Princess Máxima
The tiara passed from Queen Emma to her daughter Queen Wilhelmina and then to Emma’s granddaughter Queen Juliana. Juliana placed it in the family foundation, and we now see pieces of the parure used by multiple royal ladies. The tiara, however, seems to be reserved for queens – future, present, and past.

Video: Starting around 16:00, the dueling ruby tiaras both in use - Beatrix in the Mellerio, Máxima in the Peacock.
This tiara can suffer from, as many of you have termed it, the "cat ear" problem, thanks to the positioning of those scrolled clusters. For that reason, I think I actually like it better on Beatrix with her substantial nest of hair. But there's no doubt that it has plenty of sparkle factor, thanks to those diamond strings, and an impressive collection of pieces to go with it.

Where does this rank on your list of favorite ruby tiaras?

Photos: Getty Images/gahetNA/ANP/PPE