Monday, 22 August 2016

Gold for August: Queen Margrethe's Poppies

No one else is ever going to be wearing the same headpiece when Margrethe chooses her poppies

They sound as if they should be one of the prettiest modern additions to a royal jewellery box but this set of gem encrusted flowers is controversial and then some. The Golden Poppies belonging to Queen Margrethe of Denmark are a modern take on the traditional head wear of royal ladies but these are a real love them or hate them set of jewels. Here is the most talked about of all the sets made of gold for August.

The poppies were designed in 1976 for the then relatively new Queen of Denmark - Margrethe had ascended her country's throne four years earlier. The new set of royal jewels were designed by Arje Griegst, a well known Danish designer, and this work has certainly got plenty of attention since.

The headpiece is made up of eight  poppies, made from flattened 21 carat yellow gold shaped into flowers. Inside are diamonds and pearls to represent the stamens while there are also moonstones and aquamarines as well as crystals and more diamonds and pearls shaped into insects on the flowers. Yes, insects. Because a royal jewellery set needs insects made of gems.

All of the flowers are detachable and Margrethe has sometimes worn just a couple as an adornment. But once they are altogether there is nothing that can be done to get away from the, shall we say, rather unusual look of this headpiece. It tends to cover the whole crown and it's so bright that it dominates everything in a rather jaggedy way - there's no central point to focus on so the eye is drawn to all the different flowers spreading over Margrethe's hair complete with their insects.

Tiaras off to this one for trying - it's modern and certainly in a class of its own. But it's certainly not the most attractive or popular piece of royal jewellery out there - we'll put it in the quirky category of gold for August.

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