19 October 2017

Tiara Thursday: The Medinaceli Art Deco Tiara

The Medinaceli Art Deco Tiara
Sotheby's
This tiara puts an Art Deco twist on motifs frequently represented in tiaras: palmettes, acanthus leaves, and floral clusters. The nine openwork plaques of graduated size are pierced and millegrain-set with single-cut, circular-cut, and rose diamonds.

The tiara, removed from the frame
Sotheby's
The tiara can be removed completely from its frame and laid flat. It’s likely that this jewel was designed also to be a choker-style necklace, though the tiara frame is the only fitting it has today. Regularly attributed to Chaumet, the tiara dates from the 1920s and has French assay marks.

As worn by a Duchess of Medinaceli
The Spanish ducal house of Medinaceli – a title dating back to 1479 that has been held by dukes as well as duchesses in their own right – owned this unusual tiara. It was worn by Ana Fernandez de Henestrosa Gayoso de los Cobos, wife of the 17th Duke, for a painting in 1926 (above), probably not long after the tiara’s creation. It was also used as a bridal tiara in later generations.

As a bridal tiara
via/via
The tiara was sold at Sotheby’s in July 2011 for $442,020. It was marked as the property of a ducal house. In the auction notes from the sale, the tiara was likened to the Lotus Flower Tiara and the Gloucester Honeysuckle Tiara, both using similar motifs and both belonging to members of the British royal family. In terms of the overall impression of the piece, I see a likeness to another tiara, one also hailing from a Spanish noble house: the Alba Russian Tiara, which puts a geometric spin on a similar sort of layered design effect.

The centerpiece
Sotheby's
The Medinaceli Art Deco Tiara is a large and imposing jewel in use. It was probably best suited to use as a wedding tiara, with a veil as a background to balance things out. As used by one of the brides pictured above, it even takes on a bit of the feel of a peineta and mantilla. And yet, again like the Alba Russian Tiara, it’s not hard to see how it came to sale.

How do you rate this unusual piece?

18 October 2017

Royal Dress of the Day: Máxima Brings the Drama (Again) in Portugal

Hit the rewind button, we gotta wrap up King W-A and Queen Máx's Portuguese adventures. One of their remaining adventures, at least. Because while there were some outfits that were just...*stares directly at camera* *shrugs*...her evening follow up to the state banquet's emerald festival was filled with even more drama.

King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima hosted a concert on the second day of their state visit to Portugal last week.
Embed from Getty Images
Half cape, half caftan, all drama! This Jan Taminiau gown comes with an all-you-can-handle serving of rubies and diamonds, and its own creatively placed censor bar, free with purchase. Husbands that understand the art of escorting a dramatic gown are sold separately.

Embed from Getty Images
About those jewels, though, seriously. Many people would have seen the bold, clean lines of the dress and gone for a minimalist, modern jewel approach. Many people are not our Máxima. She's experimenting again, using a piece of the stomacher from the Mellerio Ruby set as a pendant on her diamond rivière. She previously used it as a brooch pendant; this is even better. What combo will she dream up next??

17 October 2017

Royal Outfit of the Day: Kate Takes a Spin with Paddington

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry attended an event for children from charities they support, where they met cast members from Paddington 2.
Embed from Getty Images
Well, this is cute. Probably my favorite Orla Kiely she's worn. Which, come to think of it, isn't saying much, but still! I mean it about the cuteness.

Orla Kiely/Kensington Palace
It definitely benefits from a dash of retro styling, so the chunky heel shoes were a good start.

Wait, what's that? You don't care even a little bit, you just want to see her twirl with Paddington Bear again? Fine, fine.

16 October 2017

Monday Tidbits for October 16: Birthdays and Norways

Here we go again:

--Prince Christian of Denmark turned 12 on Sunday and the traditional birthday photo (taken by mom) was released. This one made me smile; the casual twist on the usual posed picture feels perfect for this age.
Photo: HRH The Crown Princess of Denmark

--It was Norway's turn for a parliament opening last week, including King Harald and Crown Prince Haakon in full uniformed splendor and Queen Sonja in black and white.
Photo: Stortinget

--Norway's princess crew doesn't attend the parliament opening, but Crown Princess Mette-Marit and Princess Märtha Louise both joined Queen Sonja later in the week for the opening of a new exhibition at the Queen Sonja Art Stable. And shortly thereafter, Märtha Louise's return to competitive showjumping landed her in a cast, yikes. [ParisMatch, Instagram]

--Looks like Prince Louis and Princess Tessy of Luxembourg's divorce might be getting messy. Yikes indeed. [Telegraph]

--And finally, over at the Jewel Vault: QEII is getting back to business (with an assist from Princess Anne) - and she's making one big change for the upcoming Remembrance Sunday ceremony, a change I'm honestly glad to see.

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

13 October 2017

Royal Outfit of the Day: Queen Letizia at National Day

I was expecting something low key from Queen Letizia for Spain's National Day, but when she stepped out with the fam for yesterday's events, she managed to pull off a most surprising addition to her wardrobe: a brooch. A brooch! On Letizia! Mark this day on the calendar.

Infanta Sofia (in Pili Carrera), the Princess of Asturias (in Carolina Herrera), King Felipe, and Queen Letizia on National Day.
House of HM the King
It's not just that Letizia wore a brooch; it's that she wore just about the most classic brooch you can get and she wore it in the most standard way. Knowing how she loves to put her own spin on things, I found the traditional look to be the most surprising thing of all.

House of HM the King
The brooch is a Spanish royal heirloom last worn by Queen Sofia. This type of design - a large pearl surrounded by diamonds with a pearl pendant - can be found in strikingly similar models in multiple royal vaults, including the British collection. Again, classic and traditional as can be. The diamond and Australian pearl earrings she paired with it have been worn many times.

Embed from Getty Images
The jacket and skirt are from Felipe Varela. They're also right along those classic/traditional lines. In fact, I'm getting strong flashbacks to Queen Elizabeth II in the 1940s and 50s. Letizia would fit right in on the set of The Crown in this ensemble. And that's not a bad thing, because there's no better choice for a brooch showcase than an outfit with a little QEII vibe. She's chosen well. A+!