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Sapphires for September: Queen Silvia’s Leuchtenberg Sapphires

Queen Silvia and King Carl XVI Gustaf
Frankie Fouganthin / CC BY-SA Wiki Commons

Among Europe’s royal families, the Swedish Royal Family owns one of the the most impressive jewelry collections. The Leuchtenberg sapphire and diamond parure in particular goes back to early 19th century and is said to have been a wedding gift from Napoleon Bonaparte to Princess Augusta of Bavaria, his stepson’s bride.

Josephine of Leuchtenberg—Augusta’s daughter—brought it with her when she married Crown Prince Oscar of Sweden. The Leuchtenberg set includes a tiara, a necklace, two earrings, which had been converted from hairpins, a brooch and another pair of hairpins.

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The tiara consists of eleven sections, each with a big, rectangular-shaped sapphire surrounded by an oval of small diamonds. Each sapphire is set atop countless diamonds that form honeysuckle flowers and leaves. The tiara can be laid flat, and so, it can be worn either as a diadem or a necklace, which is one reason why it has become one of Queen Silvia’s favorite at official occasions.

The necklace is made of 14 sapphires, one of which is larger, and from it, as well as from four other sapphires on each side, hang detachable pendant clusters. The earrings have a sapphire each surrounded by 9 diamonds and hanging from two round diamonds, and the hairpins have a small sapphire each surrounded by 8 round diamonds. The set has only one brooch, a large round sapphire framed by tiny diamonds, which are themselves circled by 16 round diamonds.

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One of the most recent occasions when Queen Silvia was seen wearing the splendid parure was at the 2016 Nobel Prize Banquet at the Stockholm City Hall.

About author

Alta Ifland is a Romanian-born American writer based in Northern California. She is the author of two collections of prose poems (Voix de Glace/Voice of Ice -- Louis Guillaume Prize -- & The Snail’s Song) and two books of short stories (Elegy for a Fabulous World & Death-in-a-Box -- Subito Press Fiction Prize). She has a forthcoming novel, The Wife Who Wasn’t, and is currently working on a novel inspired by the life of Queen Marie of Romania.