Posts tagged sapphire wedding tiara
A FLOWERING TRIUMPH: CHAUMET'S LAUREL TIARA

Chaumet's 'Firmament Apollinien' sapphire and diamond tiara, from its new 'La Nature de Chaumet' high jewellery collection.

Continuing this week on the theme of sapphires, Chaumet has returned to its roots with the launch of a ravishing sapphire and diamond tiara.  It is part of the ‘Natures de Chaumet’ new high jewellery collection and it pays homage to the beautiful Belle Epoque jewels the house created at the beginning of the century.

Chaumet's sapphire, diamond and moonstone laurel ring, from the collection 'La Nature de Chaumet'.

Historically, tiaras are what Chaumet is best known for.  The tiara reached its apogee at the beginning of the 20th century and Chaumet created bespoke pieces for illustrious clients such as the Dukes of Westminster, the Princes Youssoupov, the Vanderbilts and the Empress Eugenie.  The company’s archive in Paris contains hundreds of metal mock ups created for the production of these pieces.

The laurel as a decorative element has been used since antiquity- it was the tree sacred to Apollo, bringer of the Sun and a symbol of triumph and immortality.  The symbolism was not lost on Emperor Napoleon, who famously wore a golden laurel wreath when he crowned himself in Nôtre Dame in 1804.  It was the direct inspiration for a diamond wreath tiara created by Chaumet in around 1885 and this in turn has inspired the ‘Firmament Apollinien’ tiara, as it has been named.

This piece brings together the best elements of the house: an archival motif given a contemporary twist together with the very best of modern craftsmanship.  The piece is transformable into a necklace- important in this day and age when tiaras are hardly worn.  Many jewellery houses producing contemporary tiaras seem to have neglected transformable jewellery- in the Edwardian age it was considered almost essential in a big piece.  Not only does it does it render the piece more versatile, it also celebrates the pinnacle of a craftsman’s abilities.  Transformable jewellery has the added advantage of achieving 20-30% higher prices at auction.

Nickel and handpainted mock ups for tiaras from Chaumet's archive.

The ‘Firmament Apollinien’ is the largest of several important jewels in this laureate line- clients can also browse through beautiful rings, necklaces and bracelets, some set with pink sapphires as an alternative.  These pieces have also been updated with the addition of specially cut moonstones, which adds a dreamlike quality to the collection.  As if a tiara wasn’t dream enough.

Belle Epoque diamond wreath tiara by Chaumet, c. 1885.

THE SAPPHIRE QUEEN

Queen Elizabeth II wearing the sapphire and diamond earrings and necklace her father gave her to mark her wedding to Prince Philip in 1947.

This week marks a milestone for Queen Elizabeth II- she ascended the throne on the 6th February 1952; she has reigned for 65 years, longer than any other monarch in British history and this milestone has been declared her Sapphire Jubilee.  Sapphires suit Her Majesty, matching the colour of her eyes and skin tone, so here we take a look at some of the most impressive pieces in her collection.

The brooch Queen Victoria received from Prince Albert on her wedding day.  She rarely wore after his death and left it to the Crown in her will to be worn by all future queens.

Buckingham Palace today released an official portrait of the Queen to mark her latest landmark.  In it she wears sapphire and diamond necklace and earrings, the stones clearly being of matchless quality.  This set is particularly poignant to her- she received them as a wedding present from her father George VI to celebrate her marriage to Prince Philip in 1947.  The King was only 56 when he died, so to the Queen her Accession Day is a bittersweet occasion- a reminder that her long reign is in part due to the early death of her father.  She has worn the set often, as it is matches exactly the colour of her Garter riband.  In 1963 the Queen had a tiara and bracelet made to complete the set, using stones from a necklace that had originally belonged to Queen Louise of Belgium.

The pearl, sapphire and diamond brooch Queen Mary bought from the Empress Marie Feodorovna's estate in 1929.  It had been given to the Empress as a wedding present from her sister, the future Queen Alexandra.

The pearl, sapphire and diamond brooch Queen Mary bought from the Empress Marie Feodorovna's estate in 1929.  It had been given to the Empress as a wedding present from her sister, the future Queen Alexandra.

An essential part of the Queen’s uniform is a brooch, which she always wears on her left shoulder.  One of the most romantic sapphires in her collection is the Albert Brooch, given to Queen Victoria by Prince Albert on their wedding day.  It consists of a magnificent large sapphire surrounded by 12 diamonds.  Because of its romantic  associations, Victoria rarely wore it after the death of her beloved Albert and in her will left it to the Crown ‘to be worn by all future Queens of the United Kingdom’.

Another brooch of note is the Empress Marie Feodorovna’s sapphire and diamond brooch.  This jewel too was a wedding present- it was given to the future Empress in 1866 to mark her marriage to the Tsarevich, the future Alexander III by her sister and brother-in-law, Alexandra Princess of Wales and the future Edward VII.  When the Empress died in exile in 1929, this, along with several other pieces, were acquired by Queen Mary.  The brooch must have attracted her attention not only due to the quality of the piece but also the family connection.

Staying with the Romanov theme, another important piece acquired by Queen Mary but very rarely seen is the Empress’ sapphire and diamond bandeau tiara.  It is a stylish piece centred on an important cushion cut sapphire with diamond rays radiating from it.  It was acquired at the same time as the brooch and Queen Mary wore it often.  It was inherited by the Queen and although she has never worn it, she loaned it several times to Princess Margaret.  It is a piece Royal jewel watchers would love to see resurrected from the vaults, especially on the Duchess of Cambridge.

Rarely seen: Princess Margaret wears another Romanov heirloom, the sapphire and diamond bandeau bought from Empress Marie of Russia's estate.

My personal favourite is the Queen’s Art Deco sapphire bracelet.  It was given to her by her (clearly very generous) father.  A favourite piece of the monarch’s, it is classic Art Deco, perfect timeless design that never dates.

18th Birthday Present: the art deco sapphire and diamond bracelet the Queen was given by her father George VI to mark her landmark birthday.