Rubies; red, valuable, rare and beautiful. These gemstones have been known throughout the history of man and have been prised and coveted since their first discovery. They have adorned the wealthy and the powerful and are recorded in the anthologies of nations across our planet. To this day they form part of the most amazing jewellery collections in the world and have interesting stories to tell while their sparkle and tempting red colour beguiles.
For the next few weeks I thought I would select, at random some of the sets of ruby jewellery in the various Royal collections. We begin today with the Hispanian Ruby Parure of Queen Esperanza. The Hispanian Crown Collection also has a set of rubies but we will discuss that at a different opportunity.
Queen Maria wearing the rubies, this year at the Anniversary Celebrations in Swann.
An archive photo of the parure.
This very beautiful, impressive yet not over the top set of jewellery did not start off as a complete parure nor as a set inclusive of rubies. The story begins with a diamond tiara owned by Queen Esperanza which is also where the parure gets its name from.
Queen Esperanza wearing the original diamond tiara for a state portrait in the 1930's.
The original tiara was a gift from the noble women of Hispania, who clubbed together to present a worthy present to their new Queen upon her marriage to King Carlos X, the great grandfather of the current Queen. The tiara was set with diamonds only in those early days however, Queen Esperanza ended up with what she must have thought to be too many diamond tiaras and on her ruby anniversary decided to have them swopped for rubies. Before that even took place she had acquired through inheritance a demi-parure of rubies that just asked for a tiara to be added, so everything joined together to form the spectacular set that we can enjoy today.
The present Queen of Hispania's mother, the Dowager Princess of Cataljone wore the rubies for her last official portrait in 2010.
The Queen's sister, Princess Isabella, representing the Kingdom of Hispania, along with the Duchess of Aragon at the First Knight's Meeting in 2009.
The Queen's sister(at the back left) at the Crown Prince Imperial's Ball in 2009.
The parure is part of Queen Maria of Hispania’s personal collection and in the days of her internal exile, she often used to let her sister wear it on official functions representing her Queen and country. The tiara however now seems to have permanently returned to the head of the Queen as she has fully returned to public engagements and responsibilities. The tiara will probably be forever associated with the Hispanian Royal family and nation due to it being gift from the people with the intent of glorifying not just the wearer but national pride. We hope to see and enjoy it in that context for many years to come and cannot wait to see the young heir to the throne sporting it in public.
Queen Maria, in red, earlier this year at the Hispanian Opera.