Sapphires for September: Luxembourg
Spot the sapphire - the sparkling Nassau tiara as worn by Hereditary Grand Duchess Stephanie of Luxembourg in an official portrait
(photo Grand Cour Ducale)
The sapphire and diamond tiara used by the royal ladies of Luxembourg traces its history back to the middle of the 19th century. The Nassau tiara was first owned by Adelheid-Marie, the second wife of Adolphe of Nassau who became Grand Duke of Luxembourg in 1890 at the age of 73. By then his Grand Duchess had owned her sapphire tiara for well over two decades.
She would pass it on to her granddaughter, Marie-Adelaide, who became the first woman to take the throne of Luxembourg in its modern form on her accession in 1919. Her reign wasn't a huge success and her perceived support for Germany in World War One led to her abdication in 1919 in favour of her sister, Charlotte, the grandmother of the present Grand Duke, Henri. Grand Duchess Charlotte wore the tiara and it flowed silently and without fuss into the family collection where it's become a favourite in more modern times.
It features one solitary sapphire in the centre of a diamond filled frame. The sparklers are set in a leaf design with a row of diamonds at the top and they climb to a subtle arch above the round sapphire. And because this is a royal tiara there's an extra row of diamonds that can be added at the bottom, for when a bit more regal sparkle is required.
Grand Duchess Maria Teresa is fond of this tiara but she's also lent it out to several younger members of Luxembourg's Royal Family with Hereditary Grand Duchess Stephanie wearing it for an official portrait as well as for part of the accession celebrations for King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands in 2013. It's a pretty and rather delicate tiara which gets added regal punch from the stunning blue stone at its centre. A delight of a diadem and all because of its sapphire for September.