Pearls for June: Queen Letizia's tiara

Queen Letizia in her diamond and pearl tiara
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The month of June takes pearls as its birthstone, an eternal favourite when it comes to royal jewellery. Perhaps it's the creamy colour or the wide variety of shapes and textures of the stone that make it so popular - after all, it goes with just about everything. And while it might not have the wow, in your face, that cost how much impact of some gemstones, it's versatile and available which is always a good start. One of the most recent, and controversial, additions to a royal collection is Queen Letizia's diadem of pearls and diamonds. It could well make an appearance during her State Visit to the UK next month so let's take a look at at as we continue Pearls for June.

This tiara was talked about for a long, long time before we ever got to see it. Reports that Letizia had acquired a tiara to call her very own surfaced several years ago but the piece was never seen. She had worn her mother in law's Prussian tiara for her own wedding and dipped into the Spanish jewellery box as she began her life as Princess of Asturias but there was no diadem just for her.

The chatter about a Letizia only piece took on several elements. The first was that her husband, Felipe, had commissioned a tiara for his wife as a fifth wedding anniversary present - that would mean it was made in time for May 22nd 2009.  Other reports are that the jewellery house that made it, Ansorena, gave it to the then princess after its director watched her wedding and decided that the new bride needed a new tiara of her own,

Newspapers and magazines talked about it but it was never seen. There were photos of its design but whenever Letizia wore a tiara it was always one from the royal collection.  Given that the Spanish Royal Family was declining in popularity and that the country was experiencing economic difficulties, just the idea that Felipe and Letizia had been thinking of jewels while so many people struggled financially was enough to cause criticism in some quarters.

So when the newest queen consort in Europe turned up to the 75th birthday celebrations of Margrethe II of Denmark in the fabled piece, there was a lot of surprise. No one had expected Letizia to use it but there it was and the first thing you notice about this is the pearls.

The tiara is made up of swirls of diamonds which end in points topped by ten huge Australian pearls. It is very delicate looking and its base of white gold means it is quite a pale piece.

At its centre is a diamond Fleur de Lys, the symbol of the House of Bourbon - her husband belongs to that dynasty. And that part of the tiara did ring bells for Letizia had been sporting that as a brooch for many years. The fact that the whole tiara didn't follow for a long time could well indicate a sensitivity to the issues surrounding it.

Overall, it has a novelty value and like many of Letizia's fashion statements, it's very modern and in her own style. It worked well with the simple and structured evening outfit she chose for the gala dinner which still marks its only appearance but whether it would sit as well with a grander dress remains to be seen. This set of pearls for June has its own place in royal history and its full story may not yet have been told.

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