Emperor Christian Victor I

Emperor Christian Victor I

Monday, 3 March 2014

Tiaras and Trinkets on Tuesday (The Greatest Sapphire Jewellery Sets)

Sapphires, my favourite gemstone and a major feature in the great Royal collections of Europa. It seems that I am in the mood for lists in 2014 so in that vein, today's blog post will list the greatest collections of sapphire jewellery with a short description of each. This list also serves to make a comparison of the jewellery mentioned as they are never seen all together at an event. The selection of jewellery sets are not complete but were chosen for a reason, not for the size of the sapphires or for the number of elements within the parure, but also for the provenance and historic officiality of the pieces. These are truly the greatest sets of sapphires in the world. 

Her late Imperial majesty Empress Crystobel of the United Empire of Scot-Britania. 

This sapphire set belonged to Empress Crystobel's great grandmother who was the sister of the Ruskian Tzar. The set or rather parure was brought from Ruskiana as a dowry and has remained with the Scotney ruling line until it joined with Britania as an Empire. The sapphires are of a massive size and quality and the design of the parure is distinctly Ruskian in its halo-like effect. As such it is, like most authentic surviving Ruskian Imperial jewellery, a testament of the grandeur of the old Ruskian Court. The set has passed to Empress Crystobel's son and we may see his wife, Princess Odeliah, wear it in future. 

Her Majesty Queen Gloria of Normandia. 

The Normandian Crown Jewels include a full Sapphire Parure called the Royal Sapphire Parure of Normandia. This set was completed days before the 96 Revolution for the last Queen Consort of Normandia. It was never used and remained in the vaults of the new democracy until Queen Gloria was gifted it by the people of Normandia. The Royal Sapphire Parure of Normandia was made from an existing set of private jewellery that belonged to Queen Sophia of Normandia. The stones were re-cut and set into this complete parure consisting of a tiara, necklace, earrings and brooch.

Her Imperial Highness Grand Duchess Xenia Alexandrovna of Ruskiana. 

Tzar Alexander III of Ruskiana is the long deceased  great-great grandfather of Grand Duchess Xenia, the current pretender to the Ruskian throne. His was a title and court also in pretense as his older brother was the last real Tzar of Ruskiana. Tzar Ivan X and his family were killed by rebels during the aftermath of the Great War. Alexander III succeeded him but was never crowned. He in turn was killed while fleeing the country a few months later with his young family. His son and heir and the rest were saved by Tzar, Alexander giving his life in order to create a diversion for the pursuing rebels. Many pieces of family jewels also survived this escape one of which was the Parure of Sapphires that Alexander ordered for his wife in the heyday of the Ruskian Imperial Court. The full parure employed the then very modern stone cut called "baguette cut" for the sapphires. These rectangular sapphires were accented by very large round cut diamonds. 

 The tiara passed to Nicholas II who had become Tzar d'jour in exile. He left it to his son, who was murdered in the Bloody Revolution of 1996 while living in exile in the Empire of Scot Britania. As the father of Xenia he left the tiara and the remaining jewels to her and her sister who escaped with their lives to South Americania. The necklace passed to Tzar Nicholas II's younger sister Grand Duchess Anna, who left it to her daughter who married the last King of Serbieski. they left it to their son who let his wife wear it on her wedding day as "something blue". We know the couple today as the mediatized Grand Duke and Grand Duchess of Serbieski in the restored Kingdom of Syldavia. The earrings passed to the youngest daughter of Alexander III, Grand Duchess Tatiana. From here it ended up in the Crown Jewel Collection of Britannia in a rather scandalous turn of events. Those jewels are in trust for the Crown Prince Imperial and his descendants and as such may never be sold.

This is not where the story ends however. In the early days of 2012, the Prince Karageorgevich received the confirmation of the restoration of the Kingdom of Syldavia and his assumption of the title of Grand Duke of Serbieski. To raise much needed cash he sold the necklace. The private sale took place in April and the buyer was none other than Grand Duchess Xenia of Ruskiana. The necklace has returned to its tiara albeit not to its homeland as yet. There is little to no hope that the earrings will ever return unfortunately.

Her Imperial Highness the Crown Princess Imperial of the United Empire of Scot Britania. 

The Imperial Sapphire Tiara was originally made in Ruskiana as a gift from the Tzar of Ruskiana to the visiting King and Queen of Britania in 1896. That year the Imperial Family of Ruskian celebrated it Bicentenary and hosted the greatest State Ball the world had ever seen. As part of the display of Ruskian wealth, the Tzar decided to bestow spectacular Tiaras as gifts, showcasing Ruskian craftsmanship upon all the wives of the visiting monarchs. The tiara has been passed down the Britanian line ever since. The Alexander III earrings pictured here was part of the set called, the Alexander III Sapphire Parure mnetioned just before this one. 

Her late Royal Highness the Duchess Consort of Swann. 

The Swann Crown Jewel Collection has a parure consisting of pearls, diamonds and sapphires. It is known as the State Sapphires and is worn by the Duchess Consort of Swann only. She would wear it as her official "crown" on the Investiture Day of the Duke of Swann and is then free to also wear it as she pleases on state occasions of a similar level of importance. The last to wear it was my mother Princess Elizabeth the Duchess of Swann at my father's Investiture. It is probably the tallest tiara in the world and as such its style is a bit dated. It's official capacity bars it from being replaced however unless a reigning Duke officially proclaims a new piece to do so. I have designed a small coronet of  diamonds that could do the job but no official move has been tabled.

The parure also includes very grand chandelier earrings and a strangely humble necklace. Perhaps the original designer thought the tiara enough of a spectacle not to be "helped" further by a deluge of sapphires on the neck. It does seem acceptably balanced for the smaller necklace. I as Duke of Swann would have to marry in order for the public to see this piece worn again. Doubly so if there is a Duchess on the horizon, she would also have to want to wear this Mount Everest of a jewellery piece. Not everybody's cup of tea.

Her Serene Highness the Grand Princess of Wallachia.

The Bagrazia Black Pearl Engagement Parure, is made of indigenous Wallachian sapphires and blue-black cultured pearls. The modern set of a variant fringe design was made on order for the current Baron Bagrazia as an engagement gift to the Princess of Wallachia. The Princess rarely wears the entire set as its colour scheme leaves it very limited opportunities but when it is worn the result is very dramatic. 

Her Majesty Queen Maria of Hispania. 

This set is called the Hispanian Rose Sapphire Demi-Parure and the center feature of the large tiara is a very large sapphire cut to resemble the floral pattern of a rose.  This particular set of jewellery was presumed lost to the 1996 revolution that took the lives of Queen Maria's father and grandmother. Many pieces of historic jewellery were destroyed in the fire that annihilated Roswind Castle and the people who were inside at the time. For 16 years the jewellery wasn't seen in public and rumours were rife in 2012 at the Heads of the Royal Houses meeting, Queen Maria wore it to the surprise of the news media. 

The set was originally designed for Queen Isabella II of Hispania, Queen Maria's grandmother. She received it from the people of Hispania as a tribute upon her ascension to the Hispanian throne. When she was killed in the Castle Roswind fire it was supposed that she might have had this set with her at the time. She obviously did not. The tiara contains many diamonds, pearls and the famous sapphire while the necklace contains three smaller sapphires.

Her Imperial Highness the Crown Princess Imperial of the United Empire of Scot Britania. 

The D'Pont Du Lac Sapphires were originally made in the late 19th century for the Franconian Princess Helene, Duchesse du Saint Denis and descended down the Franconian Royal line until the ended up with Princess Anne-Marie D'Pont Du Lac who sold it to raise money for her very sick and impoverished brother. The Sapphires were bought by the Crown Prince Imperial for his new wife Princess Odeliah who is said to enjoy wearing them to special occasions. As far as this list is concerned the Princess has access to three of the greatest sapphire sets in the world. 

Her Imperial Highness Princess Augusta of the United Empire of Scot-Britania. 

In the years of Pre-Revolution Scot-Britania, Princess Augusta eschewed the wearing of impressive jewels preferring a simple look and only wearing a tiara when protocol absolutely demanded it. However since the 2009 Imperial Birthday Ball, her role as the orchestrator of the new International Imperial Image, has required her to wear jewellery that portrayed that very image. As an Antique Jewellery Dealer it was easy for the Princess to acquire such jewels and even to use the wearing of them as advertising for her business while projecting the image of the quintessential Princess. Here we see exactly such a set of jewellery, acquired by the Princess and often worn by her to occasions requiring more impressive tiaras. The Drop Sapphire Parure is reputedly of Ruskian origin based on its distinct Ruskian inspired Kokoshnik design. The craftsmanship is said to date late 19th century. More detailed information as to the origins are unsure as the Princess acquired it from a deceased estate without more documentation. 

Lady Arcwhite. 

This contemporary piece is in the private ownership of the current lady Arcwhite. It was made in 2011 from stones in her private collection and also combines an almost medieval feel with a futuristic off-worldly look. The necklace was made as an addition in 2013. 

Her Royal Highness the Princess Youssopoff. 

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. This set of jewellery was made as testament of what the mines and contemporary Ruskian jewellers are capable of. 

Her Majesty Queen Maxima of Syldavia.

The Von Bismarck Sapphires is of a variant fringe design. The set includes a tiara and necklace made for King Nikolas III of Syldavia's mother as a dowry gift upon her engagement in 1978. The sapphires came from the private collection of her mother Queen Isabella of Hispania. The set includes the paler sapphire earring that have been a Von Bismarck heirloom for over 100 years. 

Her Grand Ducal Highness, the Grand Duchess of Reichenthal.

Grand Duchess Azantha has a very modern sapphire tiara that includes the use of Aquamarines. It is the only blue two-tone tiara to our knowledge in existence. The tiara forms part of a set as can be seen in the photo and has the option of being paired with a sapphire necklace. The tiara was made for the Grand Duchess using stones from her family's collection as a dowry gift. The colour of the stones are said to be reminiscent of the ocean, that the Grand Duchess loves. As she married the Grand Duke of landlocked Reichenthal she wished to have this set as a constant reminder of her link to the sea. 

This tiara was completely unknown to history until its random discovery in 2013. This was due to no memory or photo being known to anybody connected with the Ruskian Court of old. It is clearly Ruskian in style and being found miraculously by the Duke of Swann in an abandoned warehouse  along with the Imperial Crown Jewels of Ruskiana means that it is significant enough to have some records somewhere. Some historic research from jewellery manufacturing archives and lists or inventories made by prominent Royals lead to a gemological link. A diary entry made by the Count Tolstoievski mention his intent to have a set of jewellery made from exceptional sapphires unearthed in the mine in his local town of Toltstoi. Gemological testing of the sapphires by the Duke of Swann in his Johannesburg Jewellery Workshops revealed their origin to be from the mine in the region of Tolstoi. Sapphires of this quality and size are extremely rare so general concencus is that they are the ones referred to in the diary. Final proof was found when the current Countess Tolstoievski produced a design sketch found amongst her grandmother's personal affects of the set made by a Pariseum jeweller in 1905. The sapphires were returned to their rightful owners.The Countess has never worn the set in public yet. 

The Perlistani Imperial Collection has a very imposing Sapphire set that has never been photographed on a wearer. It languishes in the vaults along with the Crown Jewels of Perlistan but these have all been made available for the pretender Shahbanou to wear when representing her country officially. 

Because of the vast collections of Royal Families we decided only to report on the major sets and only if they include a tiara. To have featured the sets that do not include a tiara would have made this already lengthy post the longest ever posted on this blog. 


  1. Hello! I'm a fairly new follower so this is my first comment :-). You make beautiful jewellery, do you use original historical designs as examples? Regards from Belgium!

    1. Hi. Thank you for your comment. I am inspired by historical designs but I don't copy them. Copying would only be possible in real gold, silver and gemstones not in the beading technique I use here.

  2. You know I love them all!! I'm so in love with the Black Pearls. The blue really stands out against the black.