Emperor Christian Victor I

Emperor Christian Victor I

Thursday, 31 May 2012

Fascinating Fridays (Jewellery Terminology; The Necklace)

Friday again. I am off on a weekend away today so I will only be posting again on Sunday if my plans work out efficiently. It always pains me when my technological limitations bars me from posting as much as I'd like. In any case here we are with Fascinating Fridays.

Today is a continuance from last week's glamorous "lecture'' on jewellery terminology. The necklace as we all know is the general term for jewellery worn around the neck but there are many subdivisions describing various specific forms of necklace. 

First up we have the one that sits the highest up on the neck, the Choker.

Here, the Dowager Countess Cartwright wears the earrings and choker from the Cartwright Aquamarine Parure without its matching tiara. 

Variations of chokers also exist. Firstly one finds a choker with a drop pendant. A pendant is a singular piece of jewellery and is often separate, by itself and can be worn on a chain. Other times pendants are permanently attached to a larger piece. 

The Draculesti Emerald Parure worn by the Princess of Wallachia, includes a choker with a diamond pendant suspended from the front center.

Another elaborate form of choker has numerous dangling pendants and festoons. A festoon is a draped chain of metal links, pearls or stone settings. These elaborate chokers are often called "De Resille" necklaces which means "net", referring to the amounts of pendants and festoons resembling a net. 

Empress Crystobel wearing her "De Resille" choker from her Birthday Diamond Parure.

The necklaces that sit slightly lower than a choker but happens to be of a more solid  and parallel design are called Collars. 

The Duchess of Aragon currently owns the famous Van der Bilt Diamond Collar. 

Similar to the so called Fringe Tiaras one also gets Fringe Necklaces. These look a lot like their headpiece counterparts as the photos will easily show. Often fringe tiaras and necklaces are one in the same piece just worn either on the neck or mounted on a frame for the head. 

The Draculesti Fringe Tiara and matching Fringe Necklace.

Pendant Necklaces like their name suggests have dangling pendant hanging from either a choker, collar or standard length necklace. Many combinations are possible so we will show a couple examples.

The Hispanian Shard of Dusk Diamond Necklace consists of the large brown "Shard of Dusk" Diamond set as a pendant suspended from a pearl necklace. 

The D' Pont du Lac Aquamarine Parure includes a large necklace with several pendants of which the front center is a massive pearl. 

Strand Necklaces are the simplest form of neck ornamentation and normally just consists of pearls or diamonds strung in a single line comfortably around the neck. Extremely long strands are often called "Opera Length" strands. 

Princess Augusta wears a simple strand of pearls to focus the attention on her tiara. 

Here Lady Arcwhite wears a simple strand of pearls and diamonds, again the focus is placed on the tiara. 

The Crown Princess Imperial wears an "Opera Length" strand of black pearls and pendant cross. She also wears a choker and bandeau kokoshnik tiara. 

A very revolutionary form of design in necklaces can be seen when they are designed on purpose to be A-simetrical. There isn't a specific term to designate this category so we will just dub them A-symmetrical Necklaces. 

The whole Comet Parure is of an A-symmetrical design.

The Van der Bilt Diamond is suspended from an A-symmetrical necklace. Princess Xenia in the background wears her fringe tiara and a diamond collar.

Often necklaces combine various of the above mentioned elements in a constant pursuit of fresh ideas. Hopefully today's post will help us to appreciate all these elements as they are employed to bedazzle us with beauty and majesty. 

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

"To be or not to be" Thursday (The Seeress of Muren)

In the picturesque mountains of the Switzer Confederation lies a small traditional village. If seen from the right angle you could easily feel like you have been transported through a time-warp but walking down the main street of the town you will be met with cars mingled with ox carts and traditionally dressed farm folk bartering with patrons on cell phones. The Town of Muren gets its name from the sharp cliffs surrounding the entire valley and gives the impression of immense walls protecting the town. "Muren" in the native tongue means "walls". These walls have kept the town trapped in its almost dream state for centuries and even modern man only comes here for family reasons as even dedicated tourists would not always bother with the distance to only experience a farm community. Muren however has an international drawing card which is also one of the few reasons for its financial survival and the cause for an influx of outsiders especially in the last decade. This "attraction" is the world renowned Muren Finishing School for Girls and its headmistress Waltraud Richter, better know as the Seeress of Muren. 

The Town of Muren, seen from a slightly elevated position just above the Church. 

Muren has a traditional Mayor and Town Council but due to the town's isolation a special from of "martial law" has been granted to the council that has afforded the town an almost pseudo-independence from the greater Switzer Confederation. The town council has a 3 sided government structure akin to most national governments. The Council holds legislative power, the Municipality has administrative power and the Seeress has judicial power making her the official Judge at Law. The Seeress, apart from her governing roll also heads up the Muren Finishing School for Girls. As far as her personal life goes she  upholds a standard farm community household with her husband Mark, the local Wurstbude (Sausage Shop) owner. Her husband strangely specializes in Italian style Salami rather than the indigenous varieties of sausage. The Finishing School caters for extremely wealthy, influential and well bred families. There is also a scholarship program for the "less fortunate but very gifted" funded by the school and its sponsors. One in every three girls falls in the scholarship program. The education system of the school has a flawless pass rate. The discipline and education is of the highest standard and graduating from the school stands to a student's credit within the international arena for life. Illustrious graduates from the school include; the Crown Princess Imperial, Princess Marie-Elizabeth of Swann, The Queen of Hispania, The Grand Duchess of Hanoveria and many others.

Waltraud Richter does not care for the media glare so few good photographs exist. Her good friend, the Duke of Swann has threatened for years to arrange a proper portrait sitting. This blog might just see the results soon. She wears a blindfold as the tradition of her office requires. The blindfold is meant to heighten her spiritual insight and it is only removed in her private chambers. All Seeresses in the past have been trained like genuinely blind people to navigate themselves and Waltraud is fully capable of walking wherever she likes.

The Seeress of Muren is a somewhat enigmatic figure. The office and title of Seeress has existed in Muren since its foundation in Medieval times. It has, according to legend, been passed from Seeress to Seeress and includes the impartation of a "gift" of Prophecy. This affords the Seeress with a supposed supernatural ability, a form of clairvoyance to; "see" the future, what people have on their minds and even the true intentions of the heart. The current Seeress has held the office for what seems to be since before modern documentation can record. Due to the town's isolation, birth and marriage certificates were only instituted and recorded since the late 1960's, after the Great War. Thus the Seeress, who has no such record filed in the town's archives, can claim any age she cares to. 

It seems that the tradition of the Seeresses of the past, to raise up young orphan girls as candidate successors, was the origin of the Muren School for Girls. Thus the current Seeress is believed to also have come from orphan stock, which makes gauging her age even more difficult but nobody knows for sure nor do they care to find out. 

Waltraud is greatly respected if not revered by her townsfolk and her word has by tradition of the office and her personal conduct become tantamount to law. Her prophetic insight is never questioned and according to local accounts always accurate. She has a great rapport with all the citizens and maintains an extremely simple life being happily married and has biological children and adopted children aside from the girls in the school that she is responsible for. She enjoys walking her dogs in her spare time and loves cooking and visibly enjoys her husband's company. There are however also the occasional private party or town's function that she arranges to everybody's delight and these can sometimes be borderline ostentatious but are always considered to be to the benefit of the town and its people. One such an event was the Crown Prince Imperial's Birthday Ball held in 2009. The Seeress arranged a spectacular event to showcase the revelation of her "adopted son" Chris, being the undoubted heir to the Empire of Scot-Britania. The birthday of the Crown Prince Imperial was held in a newly constructed Town Hall and attended by members of Royal families from over the whole of Europa. The event boosted International interest in the town raising the economy through the roof. 

The Seeress of Muren (seated) chats with the Margravine of Montrose while hosting the Crown Prince Imperial's Birthday Ball.

The Seeress is also held in high regard internationally and is often visited by Royalty and the wealthy elite who seek her advise and insight. She does however keep to herself and her responsibilities to her family, town and school as much as possible.

The best photo of the Seeress Waltraud of Muren. She wears jewellery given to her by the Duke of Swann as a "thank you" gift. The Seeress often receives gifts of all kinds for advice or services rendered. She once received 10 cows from a farmer in the region for correctly predicting when it would rain.

There have also been rumours surrounding the mysterious Seeress. Allegations of occult practices, drugs and sexual indulgences have come and gone over the years but all have been proven to be unfounded nonsense leveled by those who are threaten by her authority and success. Her reputation remains untarnished and her track record speaks for itself. These would stand unwavering in her defense alongside powerful friends like the Duke of Swann and the Crown Prince Imperial, even if some skeleton had to fall out the closet. We can only wish her the best and tip our heads to a community servant, with no Royal title but who can hold her own with any Queen or Empress.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

What's Up Wednesday (Normandian Royal Wedding State Portraits)

It's been a quiet week so far so no current events to report on today. I suppose after last week's wedding, people are just taking a breather. Yet in the vein of the wedding, today at least sees the official release of the State Wedding Photos as promised, although a few days late. Here they are in detail. Hope you enjoy them. 

Her Majesty Queen Gloria of Normandia and His Royal Highness the Prince of Northwold

Monday, 28 May 2012

Tiaras and Trinkets on Tuesday (The Youssopoff Collection)

Yay! Its Tuesday again, my favourite. If only time didn't fly like this it would be amazing but keeping up with the times is like a speeding roller coaster. Wheeeeeeee! In any case, we here at the Principality are not going crazy, we have been crazy all along. Wheeeeeeeeeeeee! Ok, just kidding, back to jewellery, my favourite topic and today we will discuss the fabulous jewellery of Princess Kirsten Youssopoff. 

Her Royal Highness the Princess Youssopoff, as we know is a sister of the Grand Duke of Hanoveria. In this capacity as a high ranking Royal by birth, Princess Kirsten took with her upon her wedding to the Prince Felix Youssopoff a dowry of jewellery. This included a full parure made of diamonds and lilac amethysts. 

The Princess Kirsten Amethyst Parure

As per Hanoverian tradition, a daughter of the House of Hanoveria is honoured upon her 18th birthday with the addition of a set of jewellery to the Hanoverian collection. This is not made in particular for her but rather leaves room for her choice to be made to take a dowry of jewellery upon her marriage. When Princess Kirten wed Prince Felix, she chose the Hanoverian Amethysts as her dowry and now it has become part of the vast Youssopoff treasure. 

Here the Princess wears the parure in 2010, before her marriage. 

Now, let us list the jewellery that already lay waiting in the Youssopoff vaults before Princess Kirsten gained access. The Youssopoff jewellery collection is truly large and in keeping with their wealth. Not many Royals except for perhaps the likes of the Imperial Family of Scot-Britania could exceed them, nor could any but the Hispanian Royal Collection and Queen Gloria hold a candle to the Youssopoffs. 

Art Deco Style Amethyst Parure.

This set of jewellery is made in the Art Deco Style with A-symmetrical necklace and tapered baguette cut Amethyst earrings. It dates from the 1920's and as such was probably made for the current Prince's great grandmother. 

Here the Princess (far right) is seen wearing the parure to the 2011 Christmas Ball. She also wore the tiara and earrings to the wedding of Queen Gloria last week. 

The Youssopoff Sapphires

The sapphires in this tiara and necklace are of exceptional quality and were mined from the Youssopoff private mine in the Ruskian Siber Wasteland. The mines there are world famous for their quality stones but were closed after the Great War by the then Communist Government. Since the fall of Communism the mines were reopened and special rights were allocated to Prince Felix to manage the mines under a government Trust for the Nation of Ruskiana. 

Princess Kirsten wore the Sapphires to the Syldavian Investiture this year. The Earrings however are very large marquis cut diamonds that are rumored to be a part of another Youssopof f demi-parure. Not much is known nor does any other photo reference exists of this demi-parure at this stage except for historical  rumors surrounding a marquis cut diamond set of jewellery.

The Youssopof Aquamarines

This set predates the 1920's and is made in the more traditional Ruskian Kokoshnik style with a Franconian feel. The tiara is complimented by a high neck choker to increase the formal presence of the jewellery. The Ruskian court was extremely formal at its height just before the Great War and its fall. 

The wearing of this tiara along with matching brand new earrings tipped the world media off to the seriousness of the relationship between Prince Felix and Princess Kirsten. She was seen wearing it on the arm of the Prince to the Pariseum Opera, before their engagement was even announced. It shows how jewellery can convey a very strong message to the trained eye. She hasn't worn it since. 

The Youssopoff Diamond Kokoshnik and Earrings

This basic Kokoshnik has been part of the Youssopoff collection for at least 200 years. Kokoshniks like these were so common in the Ruskian heyday that each Royal and Noble lady probably had one if not two. The classic simple design however makes it easy to wear and just as easily matched to the most contemporary of fashions. We will see Princess Kirsten wear this very often. 

Here the tiara is very successfully paired with a very sleek and modern outfit to a Pariseum Fashion Show and Banquet. 

The Comet Parure

This set, also dating from the 1920's, is by now the most famous and probably the most spectacular in the Youssopoff  collection. It is revolutionary in its design, glitzy yet strangely understated and its unique look makes it such that only some can pull it off successfully. Princess Kirsten definitely did so at Queen Gloria's Investiture in 2011. 

It is known that the Youssopoff family jewels exceeds that which has been discussed here but we will have to wait until they are worn by our style diva, Princess Kirsten. Some haven't been seen since before the Great War much less the 96 Revolution and some might even have been sold. There is also the fact that the Youssopoff wealth is vast and that Prince Felix might also spoil his wife with the occasional new gift. I am sure the new light shining upon our Royals will afford many an opportunity for the old jewels to come out of their dusty vaults and for the new to shine for the first time on the red carpet. We wait in anticipation.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Memory Monday (Serbieski Wedding 2008)

In the vein of Royal Weddings I thought it might be great to mention one that took place in 2008. Even though the Crown Prince Imperial's Ball in 2009 flung Royalty as a media phenomenon back onto the world stage in 2009, some Royal events did still take place before that. Remember that the 96 Revolution did not annihilate all things Royal and many families that were even ousted did still live their lives, albeit in quiet humility. 

One event took place with such modesty but still had a hint of times gone by with tiaras and all. This was the wedding of the current Grand Duke and Grand Duchess of Serbieski. The then Prince Karageorgevich pretender to the throne of Serbieski, was living in exile in the Islands of Arcwhite and chose to have the wedding there. His Bride, the Lady Davina Cartwright was the sister of the Earl Cartwright and distant cousin to the Imperial House of Scot-Britania. If the wedding took place only a couple of years later it would have been a far grander affair due to the high profile of the couple. Unfortunately due to the revolution, at the stage of the wedding it was still believed that Empress Crystobel and her son had died, the Queen of Hispania and her family were living in seclusion, outside the public gaze and Normandia and Syldavia were still Republics. Regardless, this entirely private event was attended by some high ranking Royal friends. The Lady Arcwhite gave her consent for the marriage to be legally performed within her nations borders but could not attend due to diplomatic relations with the states of Syldavia, Scotney and Britania who did not recognize the titles of the couple but could then at least recognize their marital union. 

From left; Princess Augusta of Scot-Britania, the Baroness D'Rothchild (sister of the Groom), the Bride Lady Davina Cartwright, the Groom Prince Paul Karageorgevich (now the Grand Duke of Serbieski), The Dowager Countess Cartwright (mother of the Bride) and the Duchess of Roswind. The small amount of guests shows the tense climate within which the wedding took place.

The then, new Princess Karageorgevich wore the Karageorgevich Nuptial Tiara and a traditional Serbiesk wedding dress. Her sapphire necklace has since been sold at auction to raise much needed funds this year before the onset of the Syldavian Restoration. The Groom wore a traditional uniform with the Order of the Ublient badge and sash. That Order, he was still head of in 2008 until it passed to the Wallachian Throne upon Serbieski's mediatized restoration within the Kingdom of Syldavia this year. This event went largely unpublisized except for a small report in a local paper but now it is told to the world amidst other great Royal events where it belongs. 

Wonderful Weekends (Official Portrait Duchess Di Giorgio)

It has been such a great and busy week and there was even time for some dancing on Friday night. 

Well, I will end this great week with my customary State Portrait although this isn't a actual "State" Portrait but would have been if Romagna was still a Kingdom. Princess Donatella the Duchess Di Giorgio, had special portraits taken to celebrate her inheritance of her title in a bold move. She decided to stand up against her country's ban on her heritage and has granted special publishing rights to the media of her story and the photos, proclaiming her Royal history. She has not been arrested or reprimanded and the President of Romagna is seemingly not against her actions. Let's hope for the best. Princess Donatella will certainly be a great ambassador for her country if her conduct at Queen Gloria's wedding sets a standard. 

Here we can now enjoy the new Princess in full glory.

They look amazing. 

Friday, 25 May 2012

Wonderful Weekends (Duke's Night Out)

Good morning to you all. Before the gossip hits the Mine Magazine, I have to set the record straight. Last night I, the Duke of Swann, was photographed illegally at a private party held at the famous Dark Star Nightclub in Swann City. The photographer, a drunk patron of the club with a cell phone, uploaded the photo before the security staff could stop him. 

Miss Sable Blackwood, the owner of Dark Star Nightclub and the Duke of Swann

I was at the party by invitation of its owner, not on a "date" as one could surmise if thus inclined, but rather to "get out and boogy". It would be somewhat  too "modern" for the Duke of Swann to date a nightclub owner. I haven't strutted my stuff on the dance floor in a while and when I got the invitation I couldn't resist as I hadn't had a free Friday night in ages. I do actually visit the club but that extremely rarely and it is a publicized fact that I also have business and charity dealings with its owner. The photograph could just have sent a wrong message so I thought to jump the gun and "confess". I also don't mind stealing some of the tabloids' fodder.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Fascinating Fridays (Jewellery Terminology; The Tiara)

I hope everybody had a great week so far? Did you enjoy the wedding of Queen Gloria? I did immensely and enjoyed reporting on it as well. It was also nice to see the reclusive Margravine of Montrose for only the second time since the Prince Imperial's Ball in 2009 and to also welcome Princess Donatella onto the scene. 

For today's post on Royal logistics I have decided to discuss some jewellery terminology. To alleviate the boredom of another "lecture", I will obviously post some dramatic jewellery photography to assist in the understanding of the terminology.

The Tiara.
 This is a bejeweled head ornament alluding to a crown or even a halo. It can be worn far to the front, resting almost directly on the brow or all the way at the back framing done-up hair and anywhere in between. It most often is semi-circular but can encircle the head entirely. In that configuration it is sometimes referred to as a Circlet or Diadem. A Diadem is often higher and reminiscent of a crown where a Circlet is often low and reminiscent of a band. When the tiara's appearance leans strongly to a halo or a monstrance its design is often Ruskian in origin and is referred to as a Kokoshnik. When it lies flat on the head in the way a headband would it is called a Bandeau. Often any small tiara can be called a Bandeau regardless of whether it lies flat on the head or not. Probably the most simple "type" of tiara design is called a Fringe. Fringes have equal, undulating or graduating "spikes" pointing up. Finally we have what is called an Aigrette. These are head ornaments that have a singular decorative feature, like a feather, protruding upward from the head. 

There are also many style and fashion periods that should be recognized to the trained eye. The most common are Franconian Style, Ruskian Style, Medieval Style and Imperial Style. The Franconian Style often looks like Crown with alternating heights and sharp point. The Ruskian Style as already mentioned alludes to a halo. The Medieval Style uses a lot of gold and employs fewer stones in designs that are also often very rudimentary and simple. The Imperial style is firstly a combination of many other styles but the most obvious tip-off is shear size. Another indication of the Imperial style is a prominent center piece at the front of tiara, like a cross or a single elevated point. Let's look at some pictures and things will become quite clear. 

The Franconian Diamond and Pearl Diadem

Queen Gloria has in her private collection, this diadem that is quite high and closes at the back. It also has the long and short pointy design which is typically Franconian. What makes this tiara unique is that it can unfasten at the back becoming flexible which allows it to be worn like a normal tiara or even a bejeweled belt. 

The Youssopoff Diamond Kokoshnik

This is probably the plainest Kokoshnik in existence and clearly shows the halo effect. The halo effect can become more ornate but as long a it frames the head and remains regular it can be strictly judged as a Kokoshnik.

Lady Arcwhite's tiara can be seen as a Kokoshnik-Fringe hybrid employing elements of both. A fringe is almost a Kokoshnik in its simplest form.

The Duchess of Lancaster wearing the historic Lancaster Fringe. Note the similarities and differences between a Fringe and a Kokoshnik. 

Grand Duchess Xenia Alexandrovna wearing her Diamond and Pearl Bandeau. It lies flat on the head. 

Queen Gloria wears a very small Aquamarine tiara and although it stands upright it could be and is indeed named, The Szanguscko Betrothal Bandeau.

The Youssopoff Comet Tiara is strictly speaking an Aigrette. Aigrettes are often of a design that links to the sky or to flight considering that the very word in its etymology is linked to birds-of-prey. 

Now to touch on some styles of design. 

The Franconian Ruby Tiara

 This tiara is very similar in design to the famous Hispanian Ruby Tiara and both are very good examples of the Franconian Style. 

The Londonderry Amethyst Tiara is also of the Franconian Style.

Another typical Kokoshnik in the Ruskian Style is the Youssopoff Sapphire Tiara.

The best example of Medieval Style would be an actual medieval tiara. This one from the Syldavian Crown Jewel Collection is by now probably the most famous.

The Princess of the Blood Tiara from the Scot-Britanian Crown Jewels is a quintessential Imperial tiara. It is of a large scale and includes a symbolic center feature which links it to the Coronets worn by Imperial Princes.

The Imperial Nuptial Ruby Tiara is another large, symbolic tiara with a central front feature.

Very often tiaras can combine several elements of style and type.

The D'Pont du Lac Pearls are set in a crown-like Franconian Style on top of a Kokoshnik type base.

Empress Crystobel's Birthday Tiara employs Fringe and Franconian inspirations.

The Swann Diamond Tiara is clearly a Kokoshnik but the central point gives it an Imperial feel.

Enjoy your tiara viewing and hope it becomes a far deeper experience of appreciation. Please remember, your comments are valued and enjoyed.