Thursday, February 7, 2013

Dutch Royal Jewels: The Mellerio Ruby Parure

The Dutch Royals have arguably the best collection of ruby jewellery the European Royal Houses. Apart from various separate jewels, they actually have two complete ruby parures – the Peacock Parure and this Mellerio Ruby Parure.
The Mellerio Ruby Tiara
In 1889, King Willem III commissioned Mellerio to create a parure as a 30th birthday present to his second wife, Queen Emma. Originally, the French jeweller intended to use sapphires but in the end it was decided that rubies would look more fetching with the general design. 

This magnificent parure originally consisted of six pieces: tiara, necklace, devant de corsage, brooch, bracelet and a fan. Later, Queen Juliana added a pair of very versatile earrings to the set.

The original sapphire version of the parure
The original sapphire version of the parure
The Tiara is made in open scroll-work motifs of diamonds and six ruby clusters connected to each other by three diamond-covered strings. The matching necklace likewise consists of three strands of diamonds with a sophisticated diamond and ruby clasp.
The Necklace
Parts of the stunning devant de corsage (a large brooch) can be detached and be worn as smaller brooches. The separate small brooch consists of a single small ruby in a diamond framing; it can be worn on its own or connected by a three--row diamond chain to the devant de corsage.
Devant de corsage (left) and the brooch from the parure
The three-row diamond bracelet is in the same ruby and diamond scroll motif. The earrings consist of two rubies set in diamond frames. They can be worn on their own, suspended from a diamond cluster top, or in a drop version suspended from diamond-encrusted gold chain.

The final part of the parure is a fan covered with pearls. Although little is known about this piece, it is supposed to be a tortoiseshell fan set with diamonds, rubies and pearls. 
The Bracelet and the Earrings
Queen Emma wore this parure or separate parts of it throughout her life. Soon after William III’s death, she temporarily had the rubies in the tiara replaced with diamonds as she was still in mourning.

Queen Wilhelmina wore the tiara from the parure on just a handful of special occasions, including the celebrations on the anniversary of the 40 years of her reign. 
Queen Emma (left), Queen Wilhelmina (middle) and Queen Juliana (right) wearing the Mellerio Ruby Parure
Queen Juliana loved the parure and was the last Queen to wear the complete set (minus the fan) together. Queen Beatrix often wears various elements of the set but she is not known to have donned the entire set at once.

Other Dutch Royal ladies also have access to the Mellerio Ruby Parure: Princess Irene, Princess Maxima, Princess Laurentien and Princess Mabel have all worn various elements of the collection. Quite often, they mix them with elements from the Peacock Parure. 
Princess Laurentien (left), Queen Beatrix (middle) and Princess Maxima (right) wearing various elements of the Parure
As with most of the important Dutch Royal jewels, this parure is no longer the private property of the royals. Instead, it was acquired by the Orange-Nassau Family Foundation meaning it will never leave the Royal Family which, given the huge number of important pieces that regularly appear in various auctions, is definitely a good thing. 

The Mellerio Ruby Tiara is a possible choice for Maxima for Willem-Alexander’s Inauguration ceremony because it’s gorgeous and lively without being overpowering. Have a look at this post for other possible candidates: Which tiara will Maxima choose for the Inauguration?

Credit:, Royal-Magazine 

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