Remember a couple of weeks ago when I told you about Queen Marie-Amelie’s sapphire and pearl tiara? Yes? Well then you probably remember it told you that tiara, and its corresponding parure, was just the tip of the iceberg. Today I bring you…. the iceberg. This is Queen Marie-Amelie’s Diamond and Sapphire Tiara.
To say this woman loved sapphires would be, well, an understatement. Let’s just look at her in all of her sapphire finery! The necklace. The brooches. And let’s not skip over her head. The adornment on that hat is…. a tiara. with more jewels on her head beneath.
This particular set is amazing. If we were just speaking about the tiara itself, that would be enough. It’s made of scrolls and rows of diamonds, looping around larger diamond and sapphire elements. The larger elements were once brooches and could be worn as such separately. But then there’s the rest of the set. One very distinctive brooch, two smaller brooches, a unique necklace and a pair of earrings.
All to compliment the centerpiece, Queen Marie-Amelie’s Diamond and Sapphire Tiara. It all now sits in the Louvre, after a complicated and twisted history. It was, if you can believe it, thought to once be a part of an even larger parure owned by Empress Josephine. The King of France (or the man who was to become King) bought the sapphires from Josephine’s daughter and gave them to his wife, Marie-Amelie – a woman who would be come Queen
She wore them all in the portrait a couple of images above – painted in 1836 by Louis Hersent and commissioned by her eldest daughter (it now hangs in the Palace of Versailles). And at that time, she was in possession of both sets: the one we’re speaking of today and the one discussed two weeks ago. But where in the portrait is the larger sapphire and diamond tiara we’re discussing today? Remember when I said it could be broken apart into brooches. Let’s take a look at the bottom half of the portrait. Do you see the brooches? Remember when I said the tiara could be broken down? Ta da.
Upon her death, this set and the other parure were separated and given to different descendants. But through marriage (yes, royalty often intermarried and married cousins and not to distant relatives), the sets were reunited again and stayed in the family for years. However, as is often the case, money was depleted and to continue to live in the manner to which they’d become accustomed, Marie-Amelie’s offspring sold both sets. This one now resides in the Louvre for all to see.
Which is your favorite of the two tiaras? Tell me yours in the comments and I’ll tell you mine. 🙂