Sapphires for September: Sweden
Queen Silvia of Sweden wears blue sapphires for the marriage of her only son in June 2015
September's birthstone is the beautiful blue sapphire. This stunning stone has been a staple in royal jewellery for centuries and in the modern era, it's found in some of the most sparkling tiaras owned by European ruling houses. Sweden owns a stunning set of sapphires and they're so special, only Queen Silvia has worn them in recent times. Welcome to sapphires for September.
The super sapphires of Sweden got a starring role at last year's royal wedding when Silvia chose this tiara for the marriage of her only son, Carl Philip, to Sofia Hellqvist. Not only did they tick the blue for a boy box (remember, on his wedding day, Carl Philip was the only chap in the Swedish line of succession) but they also meant the Queen of Sweden attended the marriage of the country's former Crown Prince in a set of gems with real royal history.
The sapphires began their royal story at the start of the 19th century when they were given to Augusta of Bavaria when she married Eugene de Beauharnais. He was the son of the Empress Josephine by her first husband but just before he got married, Napoleon adopted him and it's thought that the stunning sapphires were a wedding gift from his new dad to his new wife.
Their daughter, Josephine, married the future King Oscar I of Sweden in 1823 and when Augusta died in 1851, the sapphires came to Stockholm. They were worn by Queen Josefina (she did that old royal thing of changing her name to suit her new country) but remained a personal possession. They eventually ended up with the woman who would become Queen Louise of Sweden and on her death she gave them to the royal family trust which means they now belong to the ruling house - there's no giving this one away as a present any more.
This is a tiara fit for a queen. It's huge to start off with, made up of a sprawling panel of diamonds set as floral and leaf motifs and even if there were no other stones in this diadem, it would still be impressive. But at the very top are eleven sapphires and you wouldn't describe them as modest. The square cut gems are surrounded by more diamonds and it makes a stand out piece of sapphire jewellery.
Queen Silvia is very fond of it - you can't blame her for that, it's a cracker. It's been seen as State Banquets, at the Nobel Prize ceremony and at her son's wedding. The only way to describe this tiara is royal. It has an air of majesty and grandness about it that never fails to impress. But it's also very pretty and delicate in its own way. It's a terrific tiara all round.
It's got another big plus point - it's part of a parure. Yes, there are more sapphires to go with this tiara and they're all terrific as well. To match, Silvia has a necklace, hairpins, earrings and a brooch and the sapphires dominate these smaller pieces where they still have diamond surrounds but no sparklers to sit on.
The tiara may well have been the inspiration, in part at least, for the new diadem worn by Princess Sofia for her marriage which follows the same basic design of a wall of diamonds topped by coloured stones, in her case emeralds. And if it was, it's no wonder. These sapphires are stunning and the tiara design still looks stunning, two centuries after it was first created. These take some beating as sapphires for September.