If it hasn’t already, it should be starting to become clear that royal jewels often change over time. Take Queen Ena’s Aquamarine Tiara as exhibit A. Once upon a time, Queen Ena (Queen Victoria’s granddaughter) gently nudged her husband, King Alfonso, in the direction of the jeweler Ansorena, who made a diamond and pearl tiara at his request. But just like other royals in her family (she was originally a Battenberg princess, after all), Ena decided to re-work the pearl tiara into something a bit more spectacular.
The simple pearl tiara was transformed by removing the pearls and adding instead several very large aquamarine briolette drops. She paired the tiara with several other aquamarine pieces she had crafted in the Art Deco style, including a seriously substantial aquamarine pendant, a pair of earrings, a ring, a bracelet and and a large stomacher.
These were all passed down to Ena and Alfonso’s daughter, Infanta Beatriz, who was to marry Alessandro Torlonia, an Italian prince. However, Beatriz realized that after years of wear, the relatively fragile tiara frame just couldn’t stand up to the weight of the aquamarines and she had it redesigned by Bulgari in 1935 into the tiara we recognize today. The interlocking circle design resembles the Vladimir tiara of British provenance.
Beatriz had two daughters, Olimpia and Sandra, and both have been seen wearing parts of the parure over the years (it has been rumored the set was split between the two women). But the tiara has most recently been seen on the head of Olimpia’s daughter, Sibilla. She’s married to Prince Guillaume of Luxembourg and was spotted in 2012 at the wedding of her nephew, Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume, sporting the tiara for the festivities (along with the earrings and the stomacher).
There are other royal aquamarine tiaras out there. Do you have a different favorite or does Queen Ena’s Aquamarine Tiara possibly supplant one of the others on your “tiaras I would love to wear list?” I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!