The Baden Palmette Tiara

This romantic tiara is an heirloom with a long history. 
The tiara is originally German. It was made in the 19th century by Koch. It was a wedding gift from King Wilhelm of Prussia to his daughter, Princess Louise, for her marriage to Grand Duke Frederick of Baden in 1856.
The tiara then migrated to Stockholm when Frederick and Louise's daughter, Victoria, married King Gustaf V of Sweden in 1881. On Victoria's death in 1930, her granddaughter, Princess Ingrid, inherited the tiara. When Ingrid married Frederik IX of Denmark five years later, the tiara moved with her to Denmark.
When Queen Ingrid died in 2000, her vast jewel collection passed into the royal families of Denmark, Greece, and Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg. 
Queen Margrethe was the lucky duck who inherited the lovely petite tiara. 
The tiara itself is sweet and romantic. It features hearts shaped palmette motifs with small diamond flowers with yellow-toned centers in-between the hearts. 
The romantic feel makes the tiara perfect for weddings. It's also smaller (and more comfortable) than most of the show stopping tiaras owned by the queen, so it makes frequent appearances. 

 

Queen Victoria's Orange Blossoms

The language of flowers is a way of communicating through the use or arrangement of flowers. It has been used for thousands of years by various cultures.

Interest in this way of communicating reached its peak in Victorian England and in the United States during the 19th century. Flowers and plants were used to send covert messages.

One of the first gifts Prince Albert sent his fiancée Queen Victoria was a gold and porcelain orange blossom brooch, a flower traditionally associated with chastity and betrothal. At their wedding the Queen wore sprays of real orange blossom in her hair and on her bodice.

Prince Albert continued to give the Queen orange blossom jewelry, another brooch and matching earrings in December 1845 and a headdress in February 1846 (on their anniversary), eventually creating this beautiful set, parts of which she always wore on their wedding anniversary.

The headdress incorporates four small green enamel oranges, intended to represent the four eldest children - Victoria, Albert Edward, Alice and Alfred. The Queen wrote in her journal, ‘it is such a lovely wreath & such a dear kind thought of Albert’s’ (10 February 1846).

The brooches were two of a group of jewels placed in the ‘Albert Room’ at Windsor Castle after the Queen’s death in 1901 (the room where Prince Albert had died in 1861). The Queen left instructions for a specific list of personal jewellery to be placed there and not passed on in the family.
 

The Swedish Cameo Tiara

Cameo Tiara
Princess Victoria of Sweden in the Cameo Tiara during her 2010 wedding

Princess Victoria of Sweden in the Cameo Tiara during her 2010 wedding


The Swedish tiaras are some of the oldest still in use, and the cameo tiara is one of them. Brides of the Swedish royal family have traditionally worn the Cameo Tiara as their wedding crown for decades and it was again in the spotlight when it was worn by princess Victoria of Sweden at her wedding to Daniel Westling on the 19th of June, 2010; however, the history of the tiara goes back much further.. 

Detail, Jacques-Louis David's  The Coronation of Napoleon  (1807) { Source }

Detail, Jacques-Louis David's The Coronation of Napoleon (1807) {Source}

In 1804, Napoléon Bonaparte was crowned emperor at the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris and his wife, Joséphine, was crowned empress. Joséphine was born in Martinique, the daughter of a wealthy Creole planter. She had previously been married to Alexandre de Beauharnais, a French aristocrat who had been guillotined during the Reign of Terror.
With her new title came a need to amass a vast collection of jewelry befitting that title. Among them was a parure (set) of cameo (a design, carved in relief, into a hard stone or shell) jewels, apparently made for her by her husband's court jeweler, Marie-Étienne Nitot. The set included a grand tiara in gold set with pearls and large Neo-Classical style cameos. It also included a necklace, a bracelet, and a pair of earrings. Cameos were quite popular during the time, especially those depicting classical mythological imagery. The style of the age was heavily influenced by the Ancient Roman Republic and its many archaeological treasures, which were being rediscovered starting in the 18th century. 
It is interesting to note that the seven cameos used in this tiara were actually made first and were not intended to go together which is why they are all different in size and color.

Anne-Louis Girodet's portrait of Hortense de Beauharnais { Source }

Anne-Louis Girodet's portrait of Hortense de Beauharnais {Source}

Joséphine had two children, Eugène and Hortense, with her previous husband Alexandre; however, she was not able to provide Napoléon with a biological heir to the French throne. At around 1810, he divorced her and married Marie Louise of Austria, daughter of the Holy Roman Emperor. Joséphine relocated to the Château de Malmaison near Paris, taking her jewelry along with her. 
In 1812 Joséphine loaned the cameos to her daughter, Hortense, who had briefly been Queen of Holland during the first decade of the nineteenth century. Hortense wore the cameos in a portrait painted by Anne-Louis Girodet. This is the first known depiction of the cameos.
Joséphine died of pneumonia in 1814. As was the custom, an inventory of her jewels was taken at the time of her death, but historian Trond Norén Isaksen noted the cameo parure was not included in this inventory. Exactly what happened to the cameos after her death is a bit unclear.  Writer Vincent Meylan argues that her son, Eugène, received them when he and his sister Hortense were given their mother's jewels to divide. His evidence for this claim may be sound as the set reappears again in the line of Joséphine's son Eugène.

Eugène married Princess Augusta of Bavaria in a dynastic wedding eight years earlier at the behest of Napoléon, and by 1814 he was living in Munich at the court of his father-in-law with Augusta and their children. Eugène and Augusta's eldest daughter, Joséphine of Leuchtenberg, married Crown Prince Oscar of Sweden and Norway in 1823. Her marriage was also a dynastic one, having been arranged by Oscar's father, King Carl XIV Johan. Interestingly though Oscar is a Swedish prince, his family's roots are just as French as Joséphine's. His father was born Jean Bernadotte and served as a Marshal in the Empire under Napoléon prior to being elected as Sweden's future king. Oscar's mother, Désirée Clary, had been engaged to Napoléon until he met Joséphine de Beauharnais; in Sweden, she is known as Queen Desideria.
It is very likely that Joséphine of Leuchtenberg received her grandmother's cameo parure as a wedding gift from her father, taking the set with her to Stockholm. Upon her marriage she would be known by the Swedish version of her name: Josefina.

                     Fredric Westin's   Bernadottes of Sweden 1837 {Source}

                   Fredric Westin's Bernadottes of Sweden 1837 {Source}

In this 1837 painting by Fredric Westin, the Swedish royal family is pictured, including King Carl XIV Johan, Queen Desideria, Crown Prince Oscar, Crown Princess Josefina, and their five children, Prince Carl, Prince Gustaf, Prince Oscar, Princess Eugenie, and Prince August. In the portrait, Josefina is depicted wearing her grandmother's cameo tiara.
In the portrait depicting an aging Josephina (circa 1890's) we again can see the tiara in all its glory. 

               Queen Josefina of Sweden  by Bertha Valerius  { source }

               Queen Josefina of Sweden by Bertha Valerius {source}

When Josefina died in Stockholm, the cameo parure was inherited by her only daughter, Princess Eugenie. Eugenie (a gifted artist) never married, but instead devoted her life to artistic pursuits and charitable causes. Upon her death, the cameos are inherited by her nephew, Prince Eugen. Like his aunt before him, Eugen was also a gifted artist and also never married.
Eugen often lent the cameos them to another member of the Swedish royal family: Crown Princess Margareta who was the wife of Eugen's nephew, Crown Prince Gustaf Adolf. Margareta donned the tiara to wear at the wedding of her husband's cousin, Count Carl Bernadotte af Wisborg. Famously she went into her children's nursery before leaving for the wedding, and gave them a history lesson by showing them a tiara that had been worn by Empress Joséphine of France.
In 1932 Prince Eugen gave the cameo parure to another Swedish royal, Princess Sibylla of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, on the occasion of her marriage to Prince Gustaf Adolf, the eldest son of Crown Prince Gustaf Sibylla in turn lent it to her sister-in-law, the future Queen Ingrid of Denmark, for a costume ball where she dressed as Queen Josephina. 

                    Left to Right:   Queen Josephina, Crown Princess Margareta, Princess Ingrid (later Queen of Denmark), Princess Sibylla

                    Left to Right: Queen Josephina, Crown Princess Margareta, Princess Ingrid (later Queen of Denmark), Princess Sibylla

Queen Silvia in the Cameos

Queen Silvia in the Cameos

While the parure was still in Sibylla's posession, a family tradition began. The Cameo Tiara began to be used as a wedding crown. Two of Queen Sibylla's used it for their weddings: Princess Birgitta in 1961 and Princess Désirée in 1964. In 1972 Princess Sibylla died of cancer in Stockholm, leaving the cameo parure to her son, Prince Carl Gustaf.  Carl Gustaf is crowned king in 1973 and in 1976 when he married Silvia Sommerlath, she carried on the tradition.
The cameos and the tiara in particular are now shared with the first of her daughters to marry, Crown Princess Victoria in 2010.

                                 Left to Right: Princess Birgitta, Princess Désirée, Queen Silvia, Crown Princess Victoria

                                 Left to Right: Princess Birgitta, Princess Désirée, Queen Silvia, Crown Princess Victoria

On a final note, it is not uncommon to see tiara remade over time and one will easily see the incarnations of the tiara over the years to suit the styles of the time and the taste of the wearer. It is, however remarkable that such a beautiful piece of history exists and that it is still in use. 

Kathleen Marino MA, GG, NAJA


With special thanks to The Royal Order of Sartorial Splendor and The Court Jeweller





Marie-Louise Emerald and Diamond Diadem

Marielouisediadem

Today’s Tiara Tuesday comes from the Smithsonian Museum and does double duty by intro'ing us into May's spectacular birthstone, Emerald.
The Marie-Louise Emerald and Diamond Diadem. 
But wait? Why am I seeing two diadems and one of them clearly does not contain emeralds! 
Well my sparkles you can blame Van Cleef & Arpels...Well you could have in the 50’s. 
The whole story:
“Napoleon gave the Diadem to his second wife, the Empress Marie-Louise, on the occasion of their marriage. Originally the diadem, commissioned in 1810, was set with emeralds, which were replaced in the mid-1950s, with turquoise. It was made by Etienne Nitot et Fils of Paris. The diadem was one piece of a parure that also included a necklace and earrings (now in the Louvre) and comb (disassembled), all in emeralds, diamonds, silver and gold. Marie-Louise bequeathed the diadem and accompanying jewelry to her Hapsburg aunt, Archduchess Elise. The jewelry was acquired by Van Cleef & Arpels from one of Archduchess Elise’s descendants, Archduke Karl Stefan Hapsburg of Sweden, in 1953, along with a document attesting to their provenance. During the period from May 1954 to June 1956, the emeralds were removed from the diadem by Van Cleef & Arpels and sold individually in pieces of jewelry. A newspaper advertisement placed by the company in 1955 promised: “An emerald for you from the historic Napoleonic Tiara…” Sometime between 1956 and 1962, Van Cleef & Arpels mounted the turquoise into the diadem. In 1962, the diadem, with turquoise, was displayed in the Louvre Museum in Paris along with the necklace, earrings, and comb, as part of a special exhibition on Empress Marie-Louise. Marjorie Merriweather Post purchased the diadem from Van Cleef & Arpels and donated it to the Smithsonian in 1971.” source

The diadem definitely is beautiful with the turquoise, and I am so glad that VCA kept the tiara intact! I can hardly imagine how stunning it must have been before the emeralds were pulled (the depiction with the emeralds is a facsimile.)

Kathleen Marino M.A, G.G., AJP, NAJA