24 April 2017

Monday Tidbits for April 24: Marathons and Multitudes of Birthdays

Races of all kinds and a birthday surplus for your Monday:

--The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry continue to work their Heads Together mental health initiative, cheering everyone on at the London Marathon. [Telegraph]
Kensington Palace

--The date of the Spanish state visit to the U.K. has been pushed back to July 12-14. Update your calendars accordingly. [Reuters]

--New pictures were released of Prince Alexander of Sweden, son of Prince Carl Philip and Princess Sofia! The soon-to-be big brother celebrated his first birthday last week. [Hola]
Erika Gerdemark, The Royal Court, Sweden

--Ditto for Princess Isabella of Denmark, daughter of Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary, who celebrated her 10th birthday. [Hola]

--Over at the Jewel Vault, another birthday celebration: the Queen marked her 91st with a day at the races, and then properly celebrated the following day, when her horse won.

--And finally, Princess Charlene also spent a day at the races during a trip to South Africa, and...I couldn't explain it to you if I tried. [Instagram, Twitter]

Coming up this week: A Letizia catch up, plus festivities for King Willem-Alexander's 50th birthday...

Tidbits is your spot for topics we haven't covered on the blog. Please mind the comment policy, and enjoy!

21 April 2017

Royal Outfit Grab Bag of the Day: Kate and Victoria Take Requests

Ask, and we shall receive. (Sort of. Sometimes. Okay, practically none of the times.)

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry opened The Global Academy yesterday.
If you've ever wished that more royal ladies would dress like characters from The Good Wife (well, I've heard a lot of cries for more suits anyway), has Kate got a treat for you! This Armani Collezioni red skirt suit is very smart, very professional. She suited up when the royal men did not, how's that for a change of pace?

Crown Princess Victoria undertook an official trip to Japan this week.
While we're answering requests, my hope that this generation of Swedish princesses would do a little more digging in Queen Silvia's closet has paid off in a most unexpected fashion. As The Royals and I pointed out, this polka dot dress was originally worn by Silvia in 1980 and could easily pass for a current design on Victoria today (in fact, as Sarah also noted, it's pretty similar this current Gucci design. The 1980s version is a fresher look than the new one, even...). What's old really is new again.

20 April 2017

Tiara Thursday: The Thurn und Taxis Emerald Drop Tiara

Among tiaras that include dangling pendants in their design, pearls are the most popular option for the drop stones. A lucky few tiaras feature articulated diamonds (or, perhaps, a mix). Others, like today's tiara treat, explore the world of colorful pendants.

The Thurn und Taxis Emerald Drop Tiara
The Thurn und Taxis Emerald Drop Tiara takes a diamond framework reminiscent of the Cartier Pearl Drop Tiara in Monaco and pairs it with cabochon emerald drops à la the Grand Duchess Vladimir Tiara for a combination with maximum impact. The piece was seen among a selection of jewels exhibited by the British jeweler Hancock in Paris in 1866.

The tiara was worn by Margarethe Klementine (1870-1955), who was born an Archduchess of Austria and member of the House of Habsburg and married Albert, 8th Prince of Thurn und Taxis, in 1890. Her grand court dress portrait also shows several other emerald and diamond jewels in the Thurn und Taxis collection at the time; the stomacher was also by Hancock. (See Royal Magazin for more.)

The tiara was again showcased by Gloria, wife of Johannes, 10th Prince of Thurn und Taxis. She had a penchant for pairing the magnificent Thurn und Taxis jewels with modern couture and eye-catching hairstyles, creating an over-the-top look that - together with the couple's socialite lifestyle - earned her sobriquets like "Princess TNT" and "the punk princess". When Johannes died in 1990, Gloria buckled down and set about managing the TNT estate and saving it from financial ruin.

Todd Eberle
Those efforts included auctioning some of the landmark pieces of Thurn und Taxis jewelry, including Empress Eugénie's Pearl and Diamond Tiara and some of the other emerald jewels worn by Margarethe above. Even with the sales, a significant collection of jewelry remains with the family and the Emerald Drop Tiara is among the treasures they kept. Both Princess Gloria and her daughter, Elisabeth, wore the tiara in portraits by Todd Eberle for The House of Thurn und Taxis, a stunning book illustrating the family's Schloss St. Emmeram estate. (The book is here at Amazon; you can see Elisabeth in the tiara and some of her mother's vintage couture here along with a gallery of other shots from the book.) It's a stunning tiara, an excellent choice to keep, and - dare I say it?- maybe an even better emerald pendant tiara than the Grand Duchess Vladimir in my eyes.

Does this have a spot on your list of favorite pendant tiaras?

19 April 2017

Royal Jewels of the Day: Queen Máxima's Tutti Frutti Set

Just about ten years ago, Queen Máxima (then Princess Máxima) debuted one of the most interesting sets of jewelry in her collection.

Princess Máxima debuts her Tutti Frutti set, 2007 
This demi-parure of a necklace and bracelet was sold at an auction at Christie's Amsterdam in March 2007. The bracelet was described as "a diamond set branch with carved ruby, emerald and sapphire buds and flowers" and sold for $34,791 (€26,400); the necklace is "composed of a graduated line of carved emerald, ruby and sapphire flowers and leaves suspended from a meandering diamond set seam to the carved flower and diamond clasp" and sold for $31,628 (€24,000). Acquired either for or by Queen Máxima (many have guessed a gift from her husband), both pieces appeared on her just a few weeks later. She first wore them with a hot pink dress for the celebrations of King Willem-Alexander's 40th birthday in April 2007.

 Queen Máxima's Tutti Frutti Necklace
The pieces are in the Art Deco style popularized by Jacques Cartier in the 1920s and later named 'Tutti Frutti', which was inspired by India and utilized a signature combination of emeralds, rubies, and sapphires - often carved, or using a mix of cabochon and faceted stones - in natural designs. Máxima's demi-parure would be Tutti Frutti style as opposed to the original stuff made by Cartier; while the prices paid for this set are admittedly high, actual Cartier Tutti Frutti creations from its prime period can fetch record prices at auction.

 Queen Máxima's Tutti Frutti Bracelet
Royal jewels in the Tutti Frutti style are a pretty rare sight these days. Queen Sofia has a set and Queen Elizabeth II has a brooch, both almost never worn. Queen Victoria Eugenia owned a Cartier Tutti Frutti bracelet made with diamonds, black enamel, and conch pearl, a rare color combination that made this bracelet one of the most important jewels created by Cartier in the inter-war years. It was sold in 2012 for over $3.4 million. We have previously featured the Mountbatten Tutti Frutti Bandeau, a Cartier piece in the signature three gemstone colors, now shown at the V&A Museum.

Of course it's the exuberant Queen Máxima that makes the most of this exuberant jewelry style; the lady certainly does know her way around a statement piece of jewelry. She wears the bracelet most, even sneaking it into the occasional day outfit, and uses the necklace less frequently. Perhaps it's because I'm prone to love a statement jewel in the first place, but I adore seeing these in action.  (And I can't help but hope that she might have something else for us as we approach King Willem-Alexander's 50th birthday next week...ah, wishful thinking.)

18 April 2017

Tuesday Tidbits for April 18: Sundays and Sentiments

Others in Easter Sunday appearances, to start our tidbits:

--King Felipe and Queen Letizia led the Spanish party at Easter mass in Palma de Mallorca. I wish Letizia's jacket was a touch less boxy, but overall everything's business as usual here. [Zimbio]

--It was a birthday celebration on Sunday for Queen Margrethe, who marked her 77th by letting her grandkids steal the show at Marselisborg Palace. [news.com.au]
Princess Josephine and Princess Athena enjoying the birthday appearance

--Prince Harry's discussion of his struggle to deal with his mother's death, leading to his seeking counseling in recent years, has been all over the headlines in the past few days. His words are well worth a listen, if you haven't already. [Telegraph]

--Princess Eléonore of Belgium surprised her father, King Philippe, with a mini violin recital for his 57th birthday on April 15th. Eléonore celebrated her ninth birthday the following day.

--And finally, over at the Jewel Vault, a couple of newer brooches made appearances in the run up to Easter service. Elephants were involved.

Tidbits is your spot for topics we haven't covered on the blog. Please mind the comment policy, and enjoy!