Emperor Christian Victor I

Emperor Christian Victor I

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Tiaras and Trinkets on Tuesday (Jewellery worn by Lady Arcwhite)

Through the centuries the Ladies Arcwhite have remained a behind-closed-doors head of state never showing face in public. The government and government officials were very real but the actual Lady Arcwhite was kept from general public view and when she might appear was strictly managed and only in front of selected assemblies of the initiate. However the current Lady Arcwhite decided to break the mould by not just stepping into the media glare but also to physically travel beyond the borders of her native islands. As an independently wealthy person in her own right she has displayed a jewellery collection on par with the greatest historic collections of the preeminent Royal houses. In most cases these pieces are of brand new manufacture especially designed according to her bespoke requirements. 

The photo above pictures Lady Arcwhite on her second ever public appearance in 2012 in her favourite tiara and most impressive necklace. The necklace was a recent purchase made in 2010 by the Lady Arcwhite from the then dwindling private collection of the exiled Shahbanou of Perlistan. It is often regarded as the most expensive necklace on earth due to the size of diamonds. The tiara was made for her by Olaf Isriksen, Arcwhite's most prestigious jeweller and her personal favourite. The two pieces are perfectly complimentary of each other and off-sets their wearer on the level of any historic empress. 

Since her first appearance Lady Arcwhite's jewellery collection has increased considerably. The tiara seen above with matching earrings was first worn last year to a State Reception in honour of The Crown Prince of Ophiri. Of similar configuration to the previous Isriksen Tiara this one alludes to a crown in its design due to the inclusion of crosses running across the top. The tiara also has the capacity to have different coloured stones being alternatively added or removed from the center of the crosses making it extremely versatile. 

This photo shows the Arcwhite Coronet Tiara as it has become known with the crosses free from coloured stone centers.

Black diamonds may seem like an antithesis as far a Lady Arcwhite is concerned but she had this demi-parure made in 2011 and has worn it with dramatic effect. Stark contrast seems to be a hallmark of her personality and preference in style. 

Having set a bit of a standard for always wearing big imposing jewels, we were surprised to see Lady Arcwhite sport this petite tiara in 2012 for the State Visit of the Duke of Swann. The tiara may be worn as a necklace as well and is yet another versatile piece. 

For non-tiara events Lady Arcwhite often chooses the sleek look wearing only dramatic earrings. These gold, tourmaline, topaz and rose quartz earrings are another Isriksen masterpiece made especially for Lady Arcwhite in 2011. 

Lady Arcwhite's "ice queen" persona is purposefully accentuated by this particular set of sapphires. She apparently enjoys the association with the fantasy title as her island realm of Arwhite is an " ice kingdom" on the real world stage. These sapphires are reputed although not documented to have been two eyes set in a an ancient Viking Idol and came into the coffers of the Ladies of the Veil somewhere in the early 1100's. This legend lends an air of mystique to the set but the stones are of modern cut and the two spectacular pieces are documented to be in the private ownership of Lady Arcwhite. The design also lends an almost alien feel to the wearer as the tiara is not of traditional design or even worn on the head in the traditional manner.

The unique design and spectacular size of the sapphires makes this set of jewellery a signature set worn by the unique and impressive Lady Arcwhite.

Pink being a softer colour may also not readily be expected from the severe style of Lady Arcwhite but as seen before she wears it to great effect accentuating her bold femininity yet not detracting from the fearsome drama we've come to expect from this icon of style. This set of Imperial Topaz earrings and necklace was made for Lady Arcwhite by her favourite jeweller in 2011. 

Blazing diamonds in large tiaras or massive earrings are as appropriate to lady Arcwhite as this extremely sleek and simple strand of diamonds and pearls. The necklace was first seen in 2011 and the earrings were originally seen in 2012. 

Lady Arcwhite also needs to wear some jewellery for the record books as her competitive personality vies for the international spotlight. The Arcwhite Brown Diamond Tiara is set with the tenth largest Diamond in the world. The 75ct  chocolate coloured diamond is known as the Pirate's Eye. The diamonds is reputed to be cut from a single stone along with the other brown diamonds that form part of the Hanoverian Brown Diamond Parure . This has never been verified through chemical analysis. The Pirate's Eye came to the Islands of Arcwhite when a raiding fleet of pirates attempted to ransack the Monastery of the Veil on Arcwhite in 1690. They failed miserably and ended up losing their treasure to the nuns rather than adding the nuns' treasure to their spoils. The stone was said to have been originally won in a gamble lost by a Hispanian Prince to the Pirate Captain Kraken. This set of jewellery is considered the property of Lady Arcwhite but the historic Diamond belongs to the Order of the Veil who holds it in trust for the nation. As such this is seen as one of the few State owned pieces that Lady Arcwhite has worn in public. 

The Arcwhite Icicle Tiara is considered to be synonymous with the ruler of Arcwhite for obvious visual reasons but also historically and due to the fact that the first ever photos of a Lady Arcwhite was seen with her wearing this most awesome piece. Of unknown manufacture date it is recorded in Arcwhite history as the Crown of the Lady. It has apparently had this role since 1777 but there is no painted or photographic record. The tiara was worn to the 2010 Christmas Ball where the current Lady Arcwhite stepped onto the world stage in front of the international media for the first time, forever searing the image of her into our collective consciousness. She has since worn it for the first ever State Portrait of a Lady Arcwhite. This portrait can be seen above. The tiara is made of pearls diamonds and carved iridescent rock crystal and it workmanship is speculated to date from the mid 1700's but can not be conclusively proven.

The Icicle Tiara can be seen above in its antique fitted case which definitely dates from the early 1800's. 

The historic jewellery collection of the Lady Arcwhite includes an authentic 14th Century Horned Headdress. This piece that belongs entirely to the Ladies of the Veil in trust of the nation is often seen as the Crown of Arcwhite even though technically no such "crown" is officiated in Arcwhite. It is the oldest peice of documented jewellery worn by a Lady Arcwhite and is only worn when Heads of State convene officially in the capital city. Thus the wearing of the headdress took place n 2012 when the Royal Christmas Ball was held in Arcwhite and was documented for the first time.  

This close up of the medieval headdress shows it in all its antique detail. It is made entirely of silver and is set with aquamarine stones.

Lady Arcwhite owns one of the most spectacular collections of jewellery in Europa and has access to some very historical pieces. We can always look forward to her truly leaving her mark on the red carpet and hope to see her reappear for our pleasure soon.

Monday, 19 May 2014

Memory Monday (Investiture of the Grand Princess of Wallachia)

Lately we have be posting a lot on some of the less publicized events from between the 1996 Revolution and the 2009 rebirth of Royal popularity caused by the Crown Prince Imperial Ball. The 2005 Invesiture of the Princess of Wallachia was one such event. The Wallachian monarchy is popular within its borders and never dissolved their system of government like so many others after the revolution. However they did feel to keep their affairs off the world stage for security. Upon the death of her father from a heart attack, some say was caused by the stress and strain following the revolution, Xenia became the new ruler of the Grand Principality of Wallachia in 2005. The Investiture of their new Princess was such a small event that no other foreign Royals were even invited.

The extremely old and very imposing Throne of the Voivode housed in the great hall of the official residence of the Grand Princes of Wallachia was used as per tradition. From here the Princess committed herself to a life of service and received the fealty and blessing of her government and Nobles under the scrutiny of local press only.

The Princess of Wallachia in full State finery and jewels was enthroned and had to proclaim the Oath of Rulership. The event was televised but did not even last an hour. Only the relevant ministers, aristocracy and clergy were present and the Princess did not even parade through the streets. The main contact point with her people were these State Portrait photos commemorating the big day. 

The Princess wore the Grand Prince's Crown, Robe of State and Chain of Office but was not actually crowned as such an action has never formed part of a Wallachian Investiture. 

Her Serene Highness the Princess Draculesti XII Xenia of Wallachia, Hunedoar and Carpathia, Illustrious Countess of Batoria, and Defender of the East. She holds in addition the title of Baroness Bagrazia through marriage. The young and beautiful Princess ushered in a new era after her father's strict and almost militant rule. Her close ties with her cousin's Principality of Swann initiated a unified support for the eventual rise of popularity we have seen Royals thrive in over the last decade. 

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

What's Up Wednesday (University of Johannesburg Jewellery Exhibition)

His Royal Highness the Duke of Swann was in Johannesburg South Africania last night to open a jewellery exhibition showcasing the talent of the University of Johannesburg's Jewellery Design and Manufacturing Department. It was due to the Duke's keen interest in and support of the jewellery trade in the country that he was very excited to take part in the events. 

His Royal Highness owns a jewellery firm in the city and sponsored his own workshop's involvement in the exhibit by financing a Barbie Doll scale tiara exhibit along with all the other accomplished exhibitors. The Barbie Doll scale jewellery was manufactured according to the Duke of Swann's designs by Daniel Swanepoel, the Duke of Swann's  Head Jeweller in South Africania. 

The scene at the University of Johannesburg's Faculty of Art and Design Gallery was abuzz with excitement. 

The Duke of Swann poses for his welcoming photo opportunity. 

The sleek industrial style gallery was the perfect venue to focus the attention on the avant garde jewellery. His Royal Highness was very excited to see all the work exhibited and found the cameras pointed at him a little distracting. 

The aim of the exhibit is to showcase as much of the best work that alumni have produced over the last two decades. It also explores the unique "look" that the university graduates have manifested with the possibility of being an almost recognizable brand in order to foster this aspect specifically in the future. 

Although bold and experimental, the jewellery did display a distinctly earthy and tribal atmosphere. 

The two story facility was perfect for this exhibit and lent a first world ambiance to this exhibit that for all intents and purposes faces the realities of third world challenges. 

The most notable exhibitor was Thato Radebe, winner of the prestigious Samsung Award for Jewellery Design. 

The Duke of Swann was quoted to say: "The raw surge of passion is clear in all the work. If that energy could be harnessed to the max, the Africanian jewellery trade would eclipse that of Europa in less than a decade."

Our Royal guest clearly also had his personal agenda to forward which was the work produced by his own company. His workshops specialize in tiaras as can be seen in these photos displaying some of the pieces. 

These cost effective pieces are not made for Royal clientéle per sé but from silver and synthetic stones to serve the needs of any client. 

However, the Duke of Swann's two Barbie Tiaras were quite the talking point of the evening. These were made by Daniel Swanepoel in 1/6th scale in the most exquisite detail. 

This detail photo of the one tiara shows its very fine craftsmanship and the settings of small stones. The design is distinctly "Bell Epoch". 

This more geometric tiara is almost Art Deco with a slightly fairy tale twist. It is also set with many small stones. 

When the crowd reached its maximum the Duke of Swann was asked to officially open the exhibit. 

His Royal Highness then announced the two speakers for the evening...

..the Dean of the Faculty of Art and Design Prof. Frederico Frechi and the Head of the Jewellery Department Dr. Judy Peter. It was truly an honour for the Duke of Swann to have been a part of this exceptional evening under the Africanian sky. 

For more information on the University of Johannesburg's Faculty of Art and Design, Jewellery Department, follow this link:

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Monday, 12 May 2014

Tiaras and Trinkets on Tuesday (Tiaras that have been permanently altered)

Even though many Royal jewels come with histories sometimes documented for literal centuries, these jewellery pieces sometimes do come to the end of their lives. There are many reasons for changing a piece of jewellery. Sometime its age is so great that the wear has left it in tatters. Inheritance might require a single piece to be split into equal parts for sale due to ready cash required for tax. The more common reason however is purely practical as old fashioned pieces might be too big or just doesn't suit or literally fit the "new" owner by inheritance. Then the piece is just practically altered sometimes with obvious visual difference in appearance or at othertimes remade to copy the original design.

Let's begin our record of the most majorly altered historic pieces of Royal jewels. 

The famous D' Pont Du Lac Emerald Parure has been discussed at length before on this blog. However it is the prime candidate in this spot on our blog. The full parure of which only the sketch above remains as evidence of its grandeur was altered significantly after its sale to Empress Crystobel in the early 90's

The D' Pont Du Lac Emerald Parure was broken up and made into no less than three new parures. The main set, pictured above, is strongly reminiscent of the original lacking the brooch, two bracelets and all the drop pearls. It became know as the Greater D' Pont Du Lac Emerald Parure and remains in that form with the Crown Prince Imperial.

The drop pearls were combined into a set of its own. A rather modest set at first using some of the original diamonds left from the tiara looking lightweight with negative space in between the diamonds at the base of each pearl. Thus this set underwent a second transformation a short while later. 

Extra diamonds were added at the expense of the Crown Prince Imperial to fill in some gaps leaving the tiara with a more solid look and more appropriate to wear for a member of an Imperial Dynasty.

The remaining smaller emeralds from the original parure was done up in yet another parure but with a far less imposing look, meant to be worn in that context to less formal events. This set was sold after Empress Crystobel's death to the original owners the D'Rothchild Family. 

The Hispanian Royal Collection has in its vaults another famous historical tiara that has been altered extensively. Seen above the tiara is shown in its original state set entirely with diamonds as it was made for the wife of King Carlos X. Later Queen Ezperanza decided to have the central diamonds replaced by rubies to match a set of earrings and necklace she already owned. 

Today the tiara is often worn with the rest of the rubies in what has become a generally accepted parure and recently a new sleek necklace has also been added. The single strand necklace gives the entire set a more modern feel. 

Recently the Duchess of Argyle decided to alter a tiara from her personal Dysart Family Collection. She felt the tiara was too spiky and also not grand enough for her upgrade from a Countess to a Duchess after her marriage to the Duke of Argyle. In this photo we see the Dysart Amethyst Tiara in its original "spiky" form. 

A gallery of pearls was added to run like an undulating bridge across the top of the spikes giving the tiara the look of a Ruskian kokoshnik and significantly boosting the tiara's size and awe factor. 

Queen Maria of Hispania's mother has entirely retired from public duties and is rarely if ever seen at Royal events. At a charity event in 2010 she bequeathed this tiara to raise funds for the particular charity. The tiara being the Dowager Princess of Cataljone's personal property was then sold privately and the funds donated toward the plight of orphans in Africania. It was seen as a poetic gesture as all the diamonds used in the piece are of Africanian origin. 

The very wealthy Duchess of Aragon was the lucky purchaser of the Royal tiara but did feel to personalize it by making a small but permanent alteration. She swapped the central diamond for a sapphire in order for her to realize a personal dream of owning a grand and Royal sapphire tiara to match the rest of the Aragon sapphires. The Duchess wore her dream set for the first time to her induction as a Knight of the Triad in 2014. 

The Roswind Ducal Family own what is considered the Roswind signature tiara but this piece has been extensively altered at least three times. Even though it has seen many incarnations and its many forms has displayed a very clear design continuity making it a phenomenon of historic jewellery and the designer's art. In the old and blurry photo above we see the tiara in its original form almost resembling a small coronet with the signature cross with central red stone at the center. The tiara is made of gold, diamonds rubies and pearls.

The tiara was then altered from its crown-like appearance to a sleeker and more tiara-like "fan" shape. It does still very clearly tip the hat to Royal symbolism with the cross and ruby taking center stage. 

In 2013 the current Duchess decided to have the tiara display her Royal heritage on a level she thought it deserved and altered the tiara to regain its crown configuration but enlarged it to a scale slightly beyond its original size. The jewellery designer took it to the max without it becoming gaudy and the result on the Duchess'wedding day was not only spectacular but complimented her and her lineage perfectly. 

We hope this post was informative and entertaining and also that it sheds some light on some of the behind-the-scenes effort that goes into historic jewellery collections.