leuchtenberg sapphire tiara

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Leuchtenberg sapphire tiara, necklace and earrings

This diamond and sapphire parure (set) was a wedding gift from French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte to his adopted son’s wife, Princess Augusta Amalia of Bavaria. The Duchess of Leuchtenberg (as she was known after her marriage) gave the set to her daughter Josephine when she married the future King Oscar I of Sweden in 1823. The parure is now in the family foundation in Sweden and has been worn mostly by queens and those acting as first ladies of the country.

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GraceFilm’s favorite tiaras

  1. The Fleur de Lys Tiara (Spain)
  2. The Leuchtenberg Sapphire Tiara (Sweden)
  3. The Cambridge Lovers Knot (Britain)
  4. The Baden Palmette (Denmark)
  5. Prussian Diamond Tiara (Spain) 
  6. The Diamond Daisy Tiara (Norway)
  7. Princess Fawzia’s Van Cleef & Arpels Tiara (Iran)
  8. The Khedive of Egypt Tiara (Greece/Denmark/Sweden)
  9. Queen Josephine’s Diamond Tiara (Norway)
  10. The Sapphire Parure Necklace Tiara (Netherlands)

Honorable mentions:

  • The Rose Cut Diamond Bandeau (Netherlands)
  • The Baden Fringe (Sweden)
  • The Braganza (Sweden)
  • The Papyrus/Lotus Flower Tiara (Britain)
  • The Strathmore Rose Tiara (Britain)

These are the tiara’s of the Swedish Royal Family that are currently in use by the “main” family members. Which is your favorite?  From L-R Top to Bottom:

Edward VII Ruby Tiara, Connaught Tiara, Nine Prong Tiara/ Queen Sophia’s Diamond Tiara, Braganza Tiara, Cut Steel Tiara

Leuchtenberg Sapphire Tiara, Laurel Wreath Tiara, Queen Josephine’s Amethyst Tiara, Modern Fringe Tiara/ Carl XVI Gustaf Tiara, Baden Fringe Tiara

Small Steel Tiara, Crown Princess Victoria’s Tiara, Aquamarine Bandeau, 4 Button Tiara, 6 Button Tiara, Cameo Tiara

Tiara’s not included (not used by main family members or lost or unseen): Aquamarine Kokoshnik Tiara, Bracelet Tiara, Diamond Tiara (last seen on Desiree), Pearl Circle Tiara, Pearl and Diamond Tiara 

Please feel free to send me any questions about this or Tiara questions in general. I have done a great deal of research and thought. 

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 The Leuchtenberg Sapphire Tiara

One of my absolute favourite tiaras ever, second only to The Cameo Tiara, is The Leuchtenberg Sapphire Tiara. This beautiful diadem features eleven large sapphires framed by diamonds, mounted on a large diamond base, no wonder its a favourite of Swedish Queens.

This tiara was a wedding gift from Napoleon I to Princess Augusta Amalia of Leuchtenberg on the occassion of her wedding to Napoleon’s step son Eugene de Beauharnais in 1806. Augusta and Eugene’s daughter, Josephine married Oscar I of Sweden and took the Sapphire set with her to Sweden where it has stayed ever since.

This is another tiara that has be reserved for the first lady of the Kingdom since its arrival to Sweden. The only exception to this was when Princess Brigitta wore this tiara to Carl Gustaf and Silvia’s pre-wedding concert.

The ladies of the Swedish Royal Family really owe Josephine a great debt because she really stocked up the Swedish Jewel Vault with the crazy amount of Tiaras she inherited including: The Cameo Tiara, The Amethyst Set, The Cut Steel Tiara, and The Braganza Tiara. Lucky lucky Josephine!

The Sapphire Parure is one most complete parures still in the world! The original set came with four hair pins, a pair earrings, a broach, a necklace and of course the tiara. At some point in time the original earrings were lost or given away, so new ones were fashioned out of two of the hairpins. 

The original tiara actually had pearl attachments that could be used instead of the sapphire, but those are also missing. It is still possible to take out the sapphires and attach something new to the tiara. I would kill to see Silvia or Victoria get new pearl attachments or some other gemstones (I’m thinking rubies) for this tiara, probably pearls though since the Swedes don’t have a really good pearl tiara. 

Another interesting feature about this tiara is that it can be taken off of its frame and laid completely flat, Queen Silvia says “its very practical, you can lay it flat so its easy to transport it” which is a fantastic feature in a tiara for a Queen who needs to go on state visits abroad! The tiara is made up of 11 separate sections (one section for each mounted sapphire) which can be taken apart, so if the wearer has a smaller head they can choose to only wear 9 of the 11. Silvia has said “Its easy to wear, its no heavy, you can close it or have it half open. so you have lots of possibilities." 

This is a tiara I definitely think we will see on Victoria a lot when she becomes Queen. In the future however I would love to see Silvia or Victoria take advantage of the attachment feature and get some pearls for this piece.

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The Cameo Tiara

The Cameo Tiara is honestly my personal favourite, I love its uniqueness, I love its history and the story it tells is actually my favourite Greek Myth (hell I even have a tattoo dedicated to it!) 

Nowadays the style is quite unusual for a tiara, it is more like a crown. The tiara is made of delicate gold wire work and hundreds of  beautiful pearls. What gives it its name are the delicate seashell cameo scenes that depict the love story of the God Eros (Cupid) and the mortal Psyche. The diadem is part of a parure which also includes a brooch, a bracelet, a necklace, and a pair of earrings. 

The tiara is one of the oldest tiaras still in use today. Its first owner was Empress Josephine, who received the tiara as a gift from her husband Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte in 1809. Josephine handed the tiara down to her daughter Queen Hortense of Holland. Hortense left the tiara to her daughter Josephine of Leuchtenberg (pictured above), who we all know did the Swedish Jewel Vault a huge favor when she married the future King Oscar I of Sweden!  (See: The Leuchtenberg Sapphire Tiara, The Amethyst Set, The Cut Steel Tiara, and The Braganza Tiara.)

For such a stately diadem there haven’t been many rules surrounding it as there are with some of the other tiaras in the Swedish collection. In fact this tiara has been worn by so many Swedish Queens and Princesses that it’s hard to keep track of the line to took to get into the hands of the current King! But now the elegant historical tiara is safe in the hands of the Bernadotte Jewel Foundation.

Queen Silvia has worn the Cameo several times at State Visits and to the Nobel Prize Ceremony in her time as Queen, and frankly no one can rock it quite like her. However recently she’s been keeping it in storage, which honestly I can’t say I hate. The tiara is my favourite and I feel it has a better impact when only worn on the most special occasions.

My personal favourite (semi) tradition with The Cameo is the use of it as a Wedding Tiara for the Swedish Royal Family. The tiara is so grand that a wedding seems perfect place for it in my opinion. Plus its gold makes it really pop when worn with a beautiful white gown, any other colour just doesn’t do it justice.

This “tradition” started with two of King Carl XVI Gustaf’s sisters wearing it at their weddings, Princess Birgitta in 1961 and Princess Désirée in 1964. Queen Silvia also wore the tiara at her wedding to the King in 1976, and thirty-four years later their daughter Crown Princess Victoria carried on the tradition.

I was very disappointed (but not too surprised) when Princess Madeleine decided to forgo the tradition at her 2013 wedding to Christopher O’Neill. I really hope in June 2015, we’ll see Miss. Sofia Hellqvist cement this tiara as the Bridal Tiara of the Swedish Royal Family. If not I’m sure in 20-30 years we’ll see Princess Estelle in it at her wedding.