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Queen Emma’s Royal Sapphire Parure



The Saphire parure was a gift of King Willem III of the Netherlands, to his wife Queen Emma in 1881


The design is very similar - but more gothic in details -, as by the famous jewelery-designer Oscar Massin who also worked for the Paris jewelery-firms and for his own jewel house.

One of Massin’s greatest designs is visible in the diamond and sapphire tiara of the Dutch Royal House. While it is clearly based on an all-diamond tiara shown by Massin at the Paris Exposition Universelle of 1867. The original design of the tiara is already drawn up by him in 1867 but it was 1881 when it actualy came to making and delivering this tiara - but it was made in Amsterdam from - Maison van der Stichel--after the sketch of Massin..And theAmsterdam-based broker of diamonds, pearls, and artefacts Vita Israel supplied it for the sum of 100.000 guilders, which willl be one million euro in current value..*



On the 14th of december 1881 the large tiara was delivered to the Dutch Royal House also together with a second frame (for a much smaller setting for using only the top row of 27 diamonds from the big Tiara) and also with two huge diamond and saphire bracelets.

The large central sapphire, as well as the other stones, were bought new. The 44 carat sapphire is 2 millimeter smaller then originally agreed on. All 31 sapphires are of Sri Lankan origin, and the diamonds are, given their round shape, undisputably cut in Amsterdam. The 655 brilliant-cut diamonds used for this tiara came from the Jagers-Fontein-Diamonds-Mine in South-Africa.

The setting -Maison van der Stichel- is partly done with "pampille en tremblant" they were one of the few jewellers in Amsterdam able to produce the en tremblant technique, in which the diamonds are set on flexible wire allowing the stones to tremble during the movements of the wearer, thus maximizing the brilliance of the stones.
This technique is to put diamonds (in their setting) on very small movable springs that bring out the most of the sparkle of the diamonds! Because of this the saphire tiara and also the small other tiara that can be made with another frame have a great capacity to catch the licht because of the little movements due to the small springs with which the diamonds are attached.

In 1928 the tiara was totally renewed when (identical to the original design) a new frame was made by the Amsterdam based diamond setter Maison van der Stichel. The old frame was made of gold and the new much lighter frame .

The design of the necklace looks a lot like the tiara's design and is of later date but made to match the tiara. The big pendant of the necklace is nowadays often worn as pendant on a bow-pin and that makes it a broche now, often worn by both Queen Beatrix and Princes Margriet.

In 1928 alterations were made by Van Kempen. The golden frame was not replaced for a platinum one, but the 3 separate parts of the tiara, allowing the middle part to be worn as a comb, were unified to a single frame. Some alterations were made to make the tiara, which weighs 700 gram, more comfortable to wear - this was done by removing a number of diamonds from the original design. Also, a missing sapphire was replaced.

The Orange-Nassau Family has lots of sapphires in their possesion even one of 163 carats (to compare: the biggest sapphire in the front of the Tiara is 44 carats from Ceylon) the central sapphire is not an heirloom of Queen Anna. But several of the other sapphires, were originaly bought by Queen Anna-Pavlovna who loved saphires!

*why did the King not order the tiara and the bracelets of the parure from Massin as well? Why not allow him to finish the magnificent set? After his wedding, the King lost focus on Paris and instead enjoyed family life: in August 1880 his daughter Wilhelmina was born, the last hope for continuing the dynasty, whose descendants still reign. Martin Coster died in February that year. As one newspaper wrote: ‘Holland lost its most popular Consul [..] It was generally known how Mr. Coster was a Consul who could only be desired, always ready to defend, with his person and his great wealth, the interests of his country and countrymen, and raise the honour of the fatherland.’ It is interesting to note that the Dutch government decided to not find a new Consul General , a confirmation of the theory that Coster and the King had a very close relationship, while the King – from the moment of his marriage to Queen Emma – had no desire for a personal liaison in Paris anymore.  

In 2013 the tiara was altered again. An extra frame was added to the base of the tiara, so that the row of sapphires is better visible but probably also to lessen or better distribute the weight of the tiara on the head.
As well as, the central top element was replaced by a single brilliant, decreasing the height of the tiara. This alteration also changed the feeling of the tiara: to a central high point, in a more kokoshnik style. The original design of the tiara is exquisite and unique, and the Gothic feeling of the jewel is exactly what it makes so unique. And Gothic always works towards the sky - which is, incidentally, also the symbolism of sapphire. 

Source*:Erik SchoonhovencGeorge Hamel presented his research on November 30, 2013 during the annual Silver Symposium organized by the Silver Museum in Schoonhoven;

 

Königin Juliana mit dieser Juwelen-Garnitur | Queen Juliana wearing this parure

Königin Beatrix und die Saphir-Parure ihrer Urgrossmutter Emma | Queen Betrix can be seen wearing it on the following photo

Die zweite Version dieser Tiara als Hochzeits-Diadem von Prinzessin Mabel | Prinzess Mabel`s wedding-tiara, the second tiara-frame of this parure

Übersicht der Holländischen Juwelen | More dutch royal jewels


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