Sunday, 24 July 2016

Rubies for July: the Netherlands

Queen Maxima of the Netherlands in one of the ruby tiaras belonging to her royal house

Rubies have been used by royalty for centuries. In fact, it's one of the most regal gem stones there is. It's bright colour and deep hues make it a stand out stone for royalty but while the huge rubies of history sat happily in crowns, orbs and sceptres, the smaller settings used in modern gems made it less popular for designs in the 19th and 20th centuries when many tiaras were being designed. The Dutch Royal House has a very famous ruby tiara in its jewellery box from the late 19th century which showcases this fiery gem against a sea of sparkle. Here are Rubies for July from the Netherlands.

Perhaps the most striking of the trio of ruby settings is the diamond and ruby tiara made for Queen Emma in 1889.  It is very grand and features six huge rubies set in three pairs amidst a huge amount of very huge diamonds.

This tiara is based around  a large scroll in the middle and two smaller matching scrolls on either side. They are each composed of diamonds with a ruby at the centre of all three scrolls and another sitting on top of all of them. The scrolls are linked by rows of huge, round diamonds with more sparklers set in lines tapering the tiara round to almost the back of the head.

It was made by the famous jewellery house, Mellerio, also responsible for some very famous pieces in other royal collections (the pearl shell tiara in Spain is among the best known) and it was a present for Queen Emma from her husband, King Wilhelm III, the last man to rule the Netherlands until the accession of his great, great grandson Willem-Alexander in 2013. And the present king's wife, Queen Maxima, is rather fond of this piece using it for one of her state portraits as well as for big events including royal weddings.

It's a grand tiara, fit for a queen, and while the rubies stand out they have to fight for supremacy with all those stunning sparklers sitting round them. It's very pretty and rather delicate and like many ruby tiaras, it looks very much of the time in which it was made (see the Burmese ruby tiara for another example). Maxima loves it but what do you think of these rubies for July?

You can read more about rubies for July here.

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