Sweden's Sparkling and Surprising Celebration


OK, it's not actually a state event but it's as regular in the royal calendar as any official visit or gala banquet. Sweden's royals have celebrated the Nobel Prize winners at a glittering ceremony in Stockholm and packed in all the tiara surprises while they were at it. Apart from Queen Silvia. But when you've got access to some of the biggest and best jewels in Europe, who needs surprises? Settle back and enjoy some pre-Christmas sparkle with this look at the tiaras that came out to dazzle at the 2017 Nobel Prize Ceremony.




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Absolutely no one was surprised when Queen Silvia walked into the Concert Hall in Stockholm wearing the wall of diamonds that she loves to rock on big occassions. This stand out sparkler goes by quite a few names but for a bit of sentimentality, let's use the one that links Silvia to royal history. For this tiara began life with Queen Sofia of Sweden who was the longest reigning Swedish consort until Silvia overtook her and bagged that royal record herself.
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It's a rather ornamental piece - not surprising when you consider it was made in the mid 19th century - and consists of a scrolling design of diamonds topped by nine prongs of sparkling stones. There is no missing this beauty and although it's not officially a queens only tiara, no one other than Silvia really seems to use it so it has a regal air of grandeur all of it own.  The Queen of Sweden has often worn this to the Nobel Prize ceremony several times and no wonder. Just in case anyone was going to miss her, the diamond dazzler gives them a focal point.
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Right, time for the surprises. While Queen Silvia was keeping it historical, Crown Princess Victoria seemed to be going for made you look with modern. Victoria wore the aquamarine kokoshnik tiara, in recent years so beloved of little sister, Madeleine, and the result was eye catching although perhaps not at the top of the please repeat it list.
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The tiara is a rather sentimental piece for Sweden's royals as it was first brought into their regal jewellery box by the lovely Princess Margaret of Connaught who married Prince Gustaf Adolf, later King of Sweden, in 1905 but died just before the birth of her sixth child in 1920. Kokoshniks were designed to look like traditional Russian headpieces but with the addition of lots of sparkling stones and this one contains five huge aquamarines set amongst a sea of diamonds. 
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We're not done with the surprises yet. Princess Sofia wore her wedding tiara but made us all sit up and look by swapping the emeralds that famously top it with pearls. Yes, pearls. We'd just seen this tiara without its green stones when Sofia removed them for a gala dinner a few weeks ago but now she's gone full on royal with us by popping another stone in there altogether.



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The tiara features diamonds shaped like trees and in this incarnation it seems to have some rather delicate pearl drops attached intermittently along the top. Swapping emeralds for pearls is a popular royal trick with tiaras in both the modern British and Dutch collections on constant stand by for the move, and Sofia's made a rather nifty addition to that very exclusive club. Except the tree motif keeps it very modern looking. A sparkling royal twist on the traditional.


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Princess Madeleine, meanwhile, chose one of the Swedish Royal Family's most famous and historic tiaras. It's a Swedish regal staple, just not on Madeleine. The princess wore the Amethyst tiara which never fails to wow. And though we've seen it on Madeleine before, it was a surprise as her Nobel prize pick.


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The stones in this sparkler are said to have originated with the Empress Josephine, the great love of Napoleon, and they came to Sweden with her granddaughter who was named in her honour. That Josephine married the future King Oscar I of Sweden, changed her name to Josefina and sparkled in her amethysts. At that time, they were actually a necklace but Madeleine's mother, Silvia, turned them into a tiara and not long afterwards gave her younger daugther the middle name of Josephine so it's rather appropriate that this princess wore this tiara to the Nobel ceremony.




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We've got an honourable nod too for Princess Christina who kept the Napoleonic theme going. King Carl XVI Gustaf's big sister wore the cut steel bandeau belonging to her royal house and which is also believed to have first belonged to the Empress Josephine. This sparkler, which contains no diamonds just steel which is polished and cut to shine and then some, was also in Queen Josefina's suitcase when she arrived in Sweden to take on her new royal role. It looks very modern on Christina and above all, it's just great to see her looking so well after her diagnosis with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia last year.
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So much sparkle, so much history, so much fun. And we're not done yet. There's another gala Nobel event this evening which means we get another dive into this dream of a royal jewellery box again. If that's not an early, glittery Christmas present then I don't know what is. Photo: kungahuset Instagram/ Nobel Prize press.

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