24 August 2016

Royal Jewel of the Day: Queen Josephine's Diamond Stomacher

The Swedish royal jewel collection is home to some of the oldest royal jewelry still in use, and with their creativity, not even pieces that went out of fashion long ago need waste away in the vault. For example:

Queen Josephine's Diamond Stomacher
Frankie Fouganthin/CC BY-SA 3.0 (cropped)
Josephine of Leuchtenberg (1807-1876) came to Sweden thanks to her marriage to the future King Oscar I, and several pieces in the Swedish royal jewel collection came to Sweden thanks to Queen Josephine. She had a diamond stomacher, also called a devant de corsage, in a design of rosettes and a bow hung with multiple pendants; in the picture below, she wears it with pearls as pendants. (She's also wearing the pearl version of the Leuchtenberg Sapphire Parure Tiara.)

Queen Josephine and the stomacher with pearls
Diamond pendants were primarily used in the stomacher, three inside and one larger pendant at the bottom. Subsequent queens consort Victoria of Baden (1862-1930) and Louise Mountbatten (1889-1965) were also pictured wearing the stomacher.

Queen Victoria
Stomachers pretty much went out of fashion as time went on, but with a little jewel creativity and a slight reconfigure, this one's been kept in good use for many further decades.

Princess Lilian wears Queen Josephine's Diamond Stomacher Necklace
With the addition of a diamond rivière, the large diamond devant de corsage became an even larger diamond necklace, and the necklace became a favorite of Princess Lilian (1915-2013). Lilian was the wife of King Carl Gustaf's uncle, Prince Bertil, and a much-loved member of the Swedish royal family. She showcased the necklace often and well.

Crown Princess Victoria in the necklace
Anna-Lena Ahlström, Kungahuset.se
Crown Princess Victoria wears Queen Josephine's Diamond Stomacher Necklace now. It's an unusual shape, one that seems to require special accommodation with gown necklines, which may be the reason she has only worn it a couple of times. She did show it off to perfection with an open neckline when she debuted it at Princess Madeleine's wedding in 2013 (below - you know I'll take any excuse to show that magnificent appearance again).

Victoria with the necklace and earrings
Frankie Fouganthin/CC BY-SA 3.0 
You may have noticed that the two smallest diamond pendants went missing when the stomacher became a necklace (you can see two empty hooks where they once hung in the close up at the top). Those were turned into a pair of diamond earrings, which Victoria is also wearing above. The earrings are favorites of Victoria's; Princess Sofia notably wore them on her wedding day.

Princess Sofia and the earrings
From one jewel into two stunning pieces? That's the jewel creativity of the Swedish royal family at its best, I say.