Queens’ jewels: the treasures of the crown
Present and past queens have always owned precious jewels and gems. The queen’s jewels, from crowns to engagement rings, seduce and fascinate for their beauty and great value.
Once upon a time – but also nowadays- there were queens with beautiful dresses, dwelling in great and majestic castles. These queens used to spend their time with ceremonies, fox hunting and sumptuous banquets. They often had to lead their countries in dangerous situations, taking decisions about imminent wars, or they were exiled and doomed to even worse fates. In other lucky cases, queens were loved, celebrated and appreciated for their representative role. Good queens, beautiful queens, sad princesses, cruel and overthrown queens, their fate could vary, but it was always linked to splendid and luxury jewels, so magnificent, expansive and intended to go down in history.
The crown jewels consist in a collection of different kinds of jewels, with precious gems among which the prevailing one is diamond (and who, if not it), but there are also other gems like rubies, sapphires, emeralds, pearls and others. We cannot deny that these jewels are marvelous, attractive and fascinating, despite of personal taste. Moreover, they have more than beauty, because their historic value as status symbol is very relevant, as they have been protagonists of history, for better or for worse.
Even if the better and the glory are always preferred, the historians teach that history has been different. Some royal descents had to face revolutions and wars, giving in to the rebellion, but taking their jewels with them. It happened in the case of the Romanov’s “bloody jewels”, that are so called for more or less literal reasons. After February Revolution, the Russian czars left their castle, but the tsarina Alexandra and her daughters decided not to leave, for any reasons, the jewels, sewing them to their corsets. Their collection of jewels consisted of several precious pieces owned by the dynasty for many years. Among them we can cite the beautiful diamond-and-ruby crown given to Mary Alexandrovna for her marriage in 1874. However, the jewels could not save the czars, who were arrested and executed, but they did not have time to remove the jewels form the corsets. These functioned as shields against the bullets and, at the end, the tsarina and her daughters were killed with bayonets, covering the jewels with their blood. The precious objects were destroyed as the insurgents believed they represented the corrupted and bloody reign of Romanov.
The fate of Romanov’s jewels exactly represents the theory of historians sustaining that, if a king is exiled and looses the crown, he will also loos his jewels, while if he menages to assert his right to the throne, the queen will wear again her jewellery. The same destiny happened to the famous French queen Marie Antoinette, guillotined after the revolution. When she arrived in Versailles, she was honored with a collection of jewels valued at 1.600.000 livres (a really high sum) that consisted in several earrings, rings, necklaces and diadems manly with the her preferred gems: diamonds. These jewels were stolen or destroyed after the end of the monarchy, but some of them reached present time, such as the famous diamond chest-ring that contains some hair of the queen herself. The love of Marie Antoinette for luxury and splendor is well known, so that we can image how wonderful her treasures were, royal jewels that could make us…loose the head.
The preference for diamonds of many queens is evident, and how could we blame it. However, there is a royal family with a strong predilection for another beautiful gemstone: the sapphire. There are royal descents and queens who lived through historic turbulence and nowadays the most famous and solid monarchy is the English one. Elisabeth II, monarch of United Kingdom, is the evident proof that queens and marvelous castles still exist, as it is also for the crown jewels. The King Jewels are the rich and various collection of treasures owned by the English crown from time immemorial; many of these are heirlooms guarded in museums, but queen Elisabeth still allows herself the luxury to wear some of these jewels and her preferred ones generally have sapphires.
In 1947, king George VI gave his daughter, princess Elisabeth, current queen, a necklace with oblong sapphires, surrounded by diamonds. Th hue of the gems evokes the colour of the ceremonial costume of the Order of Garter, the highest order of chivalryin England. For this, the queen still wears this jewel for special occasion and ceremonies. Moreover, her affection for sapphires was transmitted to following generations: we cannot forget the clamour for the engagement ring with sapphire and diamonds given by prince Charles to Lady Diana, a ring valued 35 thousands euros, and now wore by Kate Middelton. Diana’s ring was given by prince William to his future wife as to represent its emotional value, transforming a jewel into an iconic symbol that provoked the whole British population.
The engagement ring, as it became really important, turned to be a relevant symbol for every woman, and manly for princesses. Somebody says that one is born a queen, but in some rare and exceptional cases, one can also becomes a queen. Within this scope, we cannot avoid to cite the fascinating and famous fairy tale of Grace Kelly. The actress met Rainier III prince of Monaco during a photographic set and the story became a legend. The prince gave to the actress, future Grace of Monaco, a special engagement ring with an emerald-cut diamond of 10,47 carats, with a platinum setting and two lateral diamonds, baguette cut.
The creation was so original that everybody loved it, especially Grace who never wanted to remove the ring, not even during her last film “High Society”. A unique myth, a jewel able to create a queen with an aura of splendor and magic, typical of fairy tale, even if, sometimes, without an happy ending.
Queens’ jewels have always been objects of interest and fascination for their beauty, splendor and uniqueness. They had a role as status symbol with grate value and attractiveness, often seen as those magic objects that in fairy tales turn little match girls (or Hollywood actresses) into princesses or corsets into magic shields, for this they have been destroyed, stolen, penned and forgot, but sometimes they managed to survive, wore by the same protagonists, guarded in museums’ cabinets, in historic books, as treasures of mysterious collectors, or they remain in the fantastic imaginary world they belong to, exactly where they should be: in fairly tales.