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.)