Saturday, March 9, 2013

Swedish Royal Jewels: Queen Josephine's Pearl and Ruby Brooch

Just as with the Bernadotte Diamond Rose Brooch, this jewel is nowadays most often worn as a hair ornament as well.
Queen Josephine's Pearl and Ruby Brooch
As the name suggests, this pearl and ruby brooch originally belonged to Josephine of Leuchtenberg, wife of King Oscar I of Sweden. It is in a form of a flower; five pearls nest in a frame of rubies, while the rest of the jewel is encrusted with diamonds.

King Oscar presented this brooch to his wife in 1830s. It was a symbolic present since the five pearls in the brooch represented the couple's five children - Carl (future Carl XV), Gustaf, Oscar (future Oscar II), Eugenie, and August.

Queen Josephine wearing the brooch for two of her official portraits
Queen Josephine loved this brooch and wore it on many occasions  including for her official portraits. For instance, the Queen is wearing the jewel in arguably her most famous portrait by Axel Nordgren. She wore the brooch both vertically, the buds facing up, and horizontally.
Louise of Battenberg wearing the Pearl and Ruby Brooch
The brooch passed from Josephine to her daughter-in-law, Sofia of Nassau (wife of Oscar II) and from her to Victoria of Baden (wife of Gustaf V) but there are no portraits or photographs of either of them wearing it. Victoria gave the brooch to her own daughter-in-law, Louise of Battenberg. Queen Louise wore the brooch extensively, especially in her later years.
Queen Silvia wearing the Pearl and Ruby Brooch as a hair ornament
All of the ladies mentioned wore it exclusively as a brooch. However, when Queen Silvia inherited the brooch from Louise, she started wearing it more often as a hair ornament, and to great results. Silvia is known for her elaborate evening hairstyles and she often uses various brooches and pendants to add a bit of a sparkle to he hair.
Crown Princess Victoria wearing the Pearl and Ruby Brooch as a hair ornament
This used to be one of the pieces worn just by the Queen, but in recent years Silvia has loaned it to Victoria on several occasions. Among other events, the Crown Princess has worn the brooch - also as a hair ornament - for Queen Margrethe of Denmark's 70th birthday celebrations and the King's Dinner (in honour of Nobel Prize winners) in 2010.

I think it's a lovely piece, one of those brooches that go with pretty much every outfit. The Swedish royals have much more spectacular jewels but I am glad they aren't neglecting this little brooch.

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