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May Jewels: Norway’s famous emeralds

To conclude our May series on royal emeralds, we are taking a look at the emeralds in the Norwegian royal vault.

The Norwegian Royal Family has a large emerald and diamond tiara with matching earrings, brooch and necklace. The tiara is in a neo-classical style and features a centre, square emerald at the top.

Its creation date has never been known but it is assumed to have been some time in the 1800s. Norwegian Royal Family oral tradition says that the emeralds were mined in Russia, according to historian, Trond Norén Isaksen.

Reportedly, the tiara goes back to Empress Joséphine; depending on its creation date, it was either the initial tiara of Joséphine or her daughter, Augusta, the Duchess of Leuchtenberg.

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Once Augusta died in 1851, her jewels were divided between her daughters. The emerald tiara was bequeathed to her daughter, Amélie, who was the widow of Emperor Pedro I of Brazil. When she died in 1873, her jewels went to her surviving sister, Queen Joséphine of Sweden and Norway. Three years later, Joséphine died and left the emeralds to her daughter-in-law, Queen Sofia.

Upon the death of Queen Sofia in 1913, she left the emeralds to her daughter-in-law, Princess Ingeborg – the wife of Prince Carl. When World War II broke out and the Norwegian Royal Family had to flee Norway, Ingeborg gave the emeralds to her daughter, Crown Princess Märtha to take with her to sell if the family came upon hard times. The jewels did not have to be sold, and they returned with the Norwegian royals to Norway after the war had ended.

Crown Princess Märtha died before her mother, and Princess Ingeborg wanted the jewels to be given to her grandson, Harald – the current King of Norway. His wife, Queen Sonja, now wears the set for important occasions.

Photo: Jørgen Gomnæs / The Royal Court

The necklace features large, round emeralds encircled by diamonds with smaller emeralds connecting the necklace together, while the dangling earrings are oval emeralds surrounded by diamonds.

The brooch has many smaller diamonds together with five larger emeralds spread out evenly around the gorgeous pin.

While the emerald set is now associated with Queen Sonja, it has been worn by her sister-in-law, Princess Astrid and late mother-in-law, Crown Princess Märtha.

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About author

Brittani is from Tennessee, USA. She is a political scientist and historian after graduating with a degree in the topics from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, in December 2014. She also holds a master's degree from Northeastern University. She enjoys reading and researching all things regarding the royals of the world. She's been researching, reading, and writing on royalty for over a decade. She became Europe Editor in October 2016, and then Deputy Editor in January 2019, and has been featured on several podcasts, radio shows, news broadcasts and websites including Global News Canada, ABC News Australia, WION India and BBC World News.