Tuesday’s Royal Trinket: Queen Victoria’s Emerald and Ruby Ring

© Royal Collection Trust

Queen Victoria’s very first ring was this charming gold ring. The small ring is in the style of a flower; the Victorians were fond of flowers. The flower shape is set with five small emeralds and one tiny ruby.

Unlike her engagement ring, Queen Victoria was not buried with this ring. Instead, she left explicit instructions that after her death the ring should be placed in the “Albert Room,” the room Prince Albert had died in at Windsor Castle. Her instructions also said that the ring should not be passed on in the family. Thanks to her wishes, the ring exists today because it wasn’t inherited (and risked a disappearance from a potential sale down the line) and remains a part of the Royal Collection Trust.

Thank you for stopping by and have a great day!

Norway’s Amethyst Tiara

Wikimedia Commons

Apologies for the radio silence. I moved to a new home; I moved across an ocean and am still getting settled in.

For now, please enjoy this lovely photograph of the inimitable Crown Princess of Norway, Mette-Marit. She is wearing Norway’s Amethyst Tiara with the matching earrings. The set was a gift from her mother-in-law, Queen Sonja. Queen Sonja received the set decades earlier as a gift from her husband, King Harald. The tiara is convertible. It can also be worn as a necklace.

I’ll be back soon…

Tuesday’s Royal Trinket: The Crown of Christian V

Wikimedia Commons

Crowns are a symbol of absolute power. Therefore it makes sense that Denmark, one of the oldest monarchies in the world, has crowns dating all the way back to the 1500s.

The Crown of Christian V dates back to 1671. It was used by Christian V (1646-1699) and worn by all successive kings up until Christian VIII (1786–1848). After Christian VIII, the crown was no longer used for coronations or anointments because in 1849 Denmark adopted a constitutional monarchy. Being crowned or anointed wasn’t appropriate since Danish kings had limited powers and the public probably didn’t like the “anointed by God” explanation (just my guess!).

Portrait of Christian V via Wikimedia Commons.

“Its rounded braces create a closed form inspired by the crown of the French king, Louis XIV, and symbolise the ruler’s absolute power. The crown’s braces meet at the top in a globe, or orb, which is a sign of power and dignity for monarchs. On top of the crown’s globe is a little cross, which in the symbolic language of the time showed that only the church stood above The Crown.”

– The Danish Monarchy

The crown was created by German goldsmith Paul Kurtz in Copenhagen. It’s made of gold and decorated with stones and enamel pieces and holds a red velvet cap. You’ve probably seen the crown’s image in the Danish coat of arms.

The crown is on display at Rosenborg Castle, along with the other crown jewels.

Tiara Thursday: The Noor-ul-Ain Tiara

Wikimedia Commons

Today’s diadem is a tiara without a royal!

One of the largest pink diamonds in the world is the Noor-ul-Ain diamond. It weighs around 60 carats (!!) and came from a mine in India. It was looted from India by a Persian king during the 18th century.

Fast forward a couple of centuries and Mr. Harry Winston enters the picture. He (or at least his jewelers) set the pink diamond in a tiara in 1958. The tiara boasts over 300 sparkling diamonds. As you can see from the picture above, the pink diamond is set in the center and is surrounded by pink, yellow and white diamonds; all set in platinum.

Wikimedia Commons

Farah Diba wore it as her wedding tiara when she married the last Shah of Iran, Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, in 1959.

Via Wikimedia Commons. The tiara in black and white.

The Shah died not long after going into exile. The last Empress of Iran divides her time between the USA and Paris. Her eldest son, the would-be Shah, lives in Maryland, USA with his wife and daughters.

What do we think of this tiara? I think it was a perfect tiara for a young empress of a long ago empire. It’s probably for the best that it’s in a museum today. The tiara seems more museum-piece than headpiece. But that’s probably just me. 

Tuesday’s Royal Trinket: Engagement ring of Princess Mary Adelaide

© Royal Collection Trust

Prince Francis of Teck proposed to Princess Mary Adelaide with a gold ring. The ring is set with five table-cut rectangular Burmese rubies and twelve diamonds. The engagement ring, with its open setting, is very much traditional looking and would not look out of place today. The inside of the ring is inscribed with “Franz, April 6, 1866.” Mary and Francis were the parents of Mary of Teck, the future spouse of George V.

Tiara Thursday: Queen Alexandra’s Kokoshnik Tiara

© Royal Collection Trust

I am sure you recognize today’s tiara!

The all-diamond diadem belonged to Queen Alexandra. It was given to her as Princess of Wales for her 25th wedding anniversary in 1888. The gift was arranged by the “Ladies of Society,” a large group of British peeresses. Made by Garrard, the tiara’s shape is in the then-popular kokoshnik style, the traditional Russian headdress. Of course the tiara can also be worn as a necklace. Convertible tiaras were all the rage in the 19th century.

Honestly, I could stare at this kokoshnik tiara all day long. It is beyond spectacular!

Today it is owned and worn by Queen Elizabeth II.

Tuesday’s Royal Trinket: The Greville Peardrop Earrings

© Royal Collection Trust

I mentioned last week that a Mrs. Greville bequeathed her jewelry collection to Queen Elizabeth (the Queen Mother). The Greville Peardrop Earrings are another trinket the lucky Queen Elizabeth inherited.

The earrings were made in 1938 by Cartier for Mrs. Greville. The diamond earrings consist of three portions: pentagonal tops, emerald-cut diamonds and pear-shaped drops. Queen Elizabeth bequeathed them to her daughter Queen Elizabeth II in 2002.

Via Wikimedia Commons. Margaret Greville in 1900.

But let’s back up for a second and talk about this Mrs. Greville. Who was she exactly? Mrs. Greville, born Margaret Helen Anderson (1863-1942), was the daughter of William McEwan, the founder of a beer brewing company. She married Captain Ronald Greville, heir to a baronetcy, in 1891. Her marriage provided her with numerous wedding jewels and she purchased more jewelry herself. Mrs. Greville cultivated the fine arts and was a patron of goldsmiths and jewelers. She may not have possessed a royal title, but she ran in the same social circles and entertained royals and celebrities.

The earrings were worn by the Queen Mother on numerous occasions. Today they are worn by Queen Elizabeth II. The legacy of Mrs. Greville lives on!

The note in the will bequeathing the collection read, “To Her Majesty The Queen, with my loving thoughts.” If only we all had a Mrs. Greville in our lives!


Royal Collection Trust

Tiaras: A History of Splendour by Geoffrey C. Munn

Tiara Thursday: The Lotus Flower Tiara

You may recognize today’s tiara because it was worn at a 2015 state banquet by the Duchess of Cambridge! The Lotus Flower Tiara was a gift from Queen Mary to Queen Elizabeth (The Queen Mother). The Queen Mother later gave it to Princess Margaret, who loaned it to her daughter-in-law, Serena, to wear as her wedding diadem. Quite a historic tiara with so many outings!

Geoffrey Munn describes the tiara as “Egyptian inspired.” Indeed, the tiara is arranged in a line of diamond encrusted lotus flowers and arches. It’s studded with two pearls at its base and topped with a large natural pearl.

I am not sure of the ownership of this tiara, but since it was more recently seen on the Duchess of Cambridge I can only surmise that after the death of Princess Margaret it returned to Queen Elizabeth II.

I like that the tiara seems to be flexible. The Queen Mother wore it low across her forehead, as was the style. The Duchess of Cambridge wore it up higher. It’s wonderful when a tiara can be adjusted for a new era!

Here’s hoping to seeing this tiara again very soon!


Tiaras: A History of Splendour by Geoffrey C. Munn

Tuesday’s Royal Trinket: The Greville Diamond Earrings

© Royal Collection Trust

These specacular diamond earrings were made by Cartier for Mrs. Ronald Greville in 1929. In 1942 she bequeathed her jewelry collection to Queen Elizabeth (The Queen Mother). Just a few years later, in 1947, the king and queen gave the earrings to their daughter, Princess Elizabeth, as a wedding gift.

The classic design mimics a chandelier. The cut of the diamonds (half-moon, trapeze, square, baguette, baton and emerald) give the earrings their art deco style. I think the design is timeless. Sadly, they haven’t been worn in recent years.


Royal Collection Trust

Tiara Thursday: The Spencer Tiara

© Charles Spencer, 9th Earl Spencer.

The Spencer family is one of the oldest aristocratic families in Britain. In fact, I once read somewhere that Lady Diana Spencer had more royalty in her lineage than Prince Charles. Naturally such an illustrious family would be in possession of a few tiaras. One of their tiaras is the Spencer Tiara made world-famous by Diana, Princess of Wales.

Though two pieces set towards the back of the tiara date to the late 18th century, the Spencer Tiara was made by Garrard in the 1930s. The tiara’s design motif features diamond foliage, flowers and a heart-shaped center. The tiara is mounted in gold and the diamonds are set in silver. The two older elements of the tiara were probably owned by Frances, Viscountess Montagu and left to Lady Sarah Spencer in 1875. The heart-shaped design was a gift from Lady Sarah Spencer to Cynthia, Viscountess Althorp as a wedding present in 1919. In 1937, Garrard created this tiara by combining the heart-shaped motif with the two older Spencer elements, plus by adding a few modern elements.

The late Princess of Wales wearing her family’s ancestral tiara.

While the tiara has elements that are very old, it is very much a 20th century tiara made famous in 1981 when Lady Diana Spencer wore it as her nuptial diadem.

Whenever I see this tiara I can’t help but think of our dear Diana and I don’t think that will ever change. It’s a beautiful diamond tiara which suited her very well. Today it’s owned by her brother, Charles Spencer, the 9th Earl Spencer.


Tiaras: A History of Splendour by Geoffrey C. Munn