We interrupt our regularly scheduled programming to bring you…. something truly amazing. Ok, not that all of these tiaras aren’t amazing in their own right. But this one? Well, it’s extra amazing. Enough so that on this #TiaraTuesday, it was worth jumping out of our current theme, so I could introduce you to the Dutch Sapphire Tiara.
The Dutch Sapphire Tiara was originally thought to have been designed by Oscar Masin in 1867 and manufactured by Parisian jeweler, Mellerio in 1881 but it appears that those rumors are false. From what has more recently been written, we do know that it was ordered in 1881 by King Willem III of the Netherlands for his wife, Queen Emma and was manufactured by a Dutch firm, Maison van der Stichel.
We have photos of Emma wearing the tiara, but apparently it wasn’t a favorite of her daughter’s. We can’t find a single photo of Queen Wilhelmina wearing it. But Wilhelmina’s daughter Queen Juliana appears to have been bitten by the Dutch Sapphire Tiara bug. So much so, that she added the tiara to be included in the state collection (meaning the tiara now belongs to the monarchy and not the Queen herself, so it can’t pass outside of the monarchy into other hands), along with several other pieces.
Upon her abdication of the throne in 1980, the new Queen Beatrix wore it often, but it may have been hard to see the bottom row of sapphires given her hairstyle of choice. And lucky for us, the tiara has shown up on Queen Maxima’s head (the current queen), most notably at her husband’s inauguration, however we have also seen it several times since.
The tiara has undergone some changes over the years. Most recently Maxima had the bottom structure re-worked so it sits a little higher on the head (to be able to better see those 33 sapphires) and she also had the top central element, originally consisting of a plume of multiple diamonds, altered to include on central diamond, making the tiara a bit shorter in stature and favoring the Russian kokoshnik design. The changes to the tiara don’t seem to be permanent however, since we did see Queen Maxima wearing the original design in 2015 at a state dinner.
When it comes to royal tiaras, the Dutch Sapphire Tiara has to be at the top of the “best tiaras” list, don’t you think? With 655 South African diamonds, 33 sapphires, the largest and central most of which weighs in at a whopping 44 carats and an en Tremblant setting (meaning that many of the stones are set on spring mechanisms, so that they move as the wearer walks or turns their head, for optimum sparkle), it’s a show stopper! But… is it your favorite of the royal sapphire tiaras? Tell me about your favorite sapphire tiara in the comments below.