Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Emeralds for May: Denmark

Queen Margrethe of Denmark in emeralds for her 40th birthday in 1980

It's one thing to have a stunning set of emeralds at your disposal, it's another when only you can wear them. The Danish royal collection includes an emerald tiara about as impressive as you will find anywhere and only Margrethe II, Queen of Denmark can wear it.

The magnificent emerald parure, including that tiara, is part of the set of jewels that only the Queen of Denmark is allowed to use. Right now, that privilege belongs to the regnant but when Denmark has a king, his consort has access to them. All the other royal ladies have to look on longingly at these green sparklers. These are jewels for a queen only.

And they really are fit for royalty. The tiara contains a large central rectangular emerald with a smaller matching gem above and round stones dotted through the intricate and elaborate design made of gold and studded with diamonds. This is about as much sparkle as you can get into a tiara.

The jewels have got an impressive regal pedigree as well. It was all put together for Queen Caroline in 1840 for her to wear to celebrate her silver wedding anniversary - let's face it, queens don't really do silver all that often and when you've got these emeralds at your disposal, why would you?

Many of the emeralds had originally belong to Queen Sophie Magdalene of Denmark whose husband, King Christian VI, gave them to her when she gave him a son in 1723. That prince would go on to become King Frederik V. Sophie Magdalene was known for her love of jewels and the finer things in life and despite coming from a relatively minor royal family, she had a real sense of her own importance. She wrote in her will that many of her jewels were only to be used by future queens and that's how things have stayed ever since.

Margrethe's grandmother, Queen Alexandrine of Denmark, decided to put some of her top royal woman only jewels into the Rosenberg Castle but they are still available to be used. But obviously only by Margrethe.

The Queen of Denmark does wear them from time to time including at the 2015 New Year levee where they sparkled against a green dress.

This set of emeralds is among the most stunning used by Europe's royalty right now and perhaps because they can't be shared round we don't get to see them all that often meaning every appearance has an added wow factor. The gems of Sophie Magdalene still impress today - they really are jewels fit for a queen.

All of the Emeralds for May can be found here.

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