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Jewels for July: The Netherlands’ Famous Rubies

Queen Maxima of the Netherlands
By Frankie Fouganthin - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wiki Commons

The ruby is the birthstone for July. It’s been used in royal jewellery collections for centuries and it now features in some of the most striking pieces in European vaults. The Dutch royal gem collection has some famous examples of the stone. Here are the Netherlands’ famous royal rubies.

Ruby Peacock Parure

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Commissioned in 1897 by Queen Wilhelmina, this ruby and diamond tiara was made to resemble a peacock tail, with the jewels fanning out around it in swirling designs. Created by the jewellers at Schürmann, the rubies allegedly came from gems owned by Queen Sophie.

The Ruby Peacock Parure can also be dismantled and worn as an aigrette or a necklace; and includes other pieces in the parure such as a brooch and a necklace.

Queen Wilhelmina reportedly gave this tiara to her granddaughter, Princess Irene, instead of leaving it to the Dutch Royal Family’s jewel foundation, which owns the family’s jewels. The tiara disappeared from public view for a long time, but may have been returned to the Foundation, however, as Queen Beatrix and Queen Máxima has worn it on several state occasions, including a State Visit from Sweden in 2009, back when she was still Princess Máxima.

Ruby Mellerio Tiara

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Created for Queen Emma by jeweller Mellerio dit Mellers in 1889, this tiara features three large scrolls created from rubies and diamonds and two smaller scrolls connected on a diamond strand setting.

The parure also included a ruby-encrusted fan, earrings, a necklace, a bracelet, a stomacher, and a brooch. Though the Ruby Mellerio Tiara and parure belong to the Dutch Royal Family’s jewel foundation, what makes the tiara unique is that, so far, it has only been reserved for Dutch Queens to wear.

Queen Juliana wore the brooch on her inauguration day, and Queen Beatrix wore the tiara regularly throughout her reign. In her first official portrait as queen consort, Queen Máxima wore the Ruby Mellerio Tiara. Other female members of the Dutch Royal Family have worn other pieces of the parure, but never the tiara.

Queen Emma’s Diamond Tiara (with ruby setting)

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Another tiara created by King Willem III for his wife Queen Emma, Queen Emma’s Diamond Tiara features three clusters of diamonds with a central diamond surrounded by smaller stones on its base. It also can be worn with diamond stars, though these haven’t been seen on the tiara since Queen Wilhelmina’s time.

A well-worn tiara during the reigns of Queen Juliana and Queen Beatrix, this is now mostly worn by Princess Laurentien, who has worn it with its ruby setting, where the central diamond rosette is swapped out for a ruby.



About author

Jess is a communications professional and freelance writer who lives in Halifax and has a passion for all things royal, particularly the British Royal Family.