Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Luxarazzi 101: the Congo Diamond Necklace Tiara

The tiara as a necklace
Hereditary Grand Duchess Stephanie chose her family's heirloom tiara to anchor her veil on her wedding day, if she hadn't done so, she would have most likely opted for this gem: the Congo Diamond Necklace Tiara. 

Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte, Grand Duchess Maria Teresa, Princess Margaretha and Princess Marie-Astrid

As the name suggests, the tiara is a convertible necklace and was made by Van Cleef and Arpels. It was a wedding gift to Princess Joséphine-Charlotte upon her marriage to Hereditary Grand Duke Jean by the Belgian colony of Congo in 1953.

The tiara was worn by Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte herself as well as Grand Duchess Maria-Teresa, Princess Marie-Astrid and Princess Margaretha on their wedding days. The only granddaughter of Grand Duchess Joséphine Charlotte yet to be married, Archduchess Marie-Christine, decided to wear another of the family's tiaras, the smaller one of the two diamond floral tiaras.

Apart from the aforementioned weddings, the piece isn't worn as a tiara very often. Both Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte and Grand Duchess Maria-Teresa seem(ed) to prefer it as a necklace, which is all too understandable as it resembles a bandeau and his hard to wear with elaborate hairstyles.

On display together with a matching bracelet

As it was a wedding gift, the tiara was personal property of Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte. When she died in 2005, the family apparently had some troubles dividing her belongings and thus decided to auction of some of her jewellery. This tiara was among the pieces to be auctioned of.

When the news became public, there was an outcry in the Grand Duchy and so the Grand Duke decided to cancel the sale.  Thus, the Congo Diamond Necklace Tiaras was luckily saved from leaving the family, though sadly a lot of other jewellery was still sold of, it was simply done in quieter fashion and with less substantial - basically tiaras - pieces.