Monday, January 21, 2013

Luxarazzi 101: Belgian Scroll Tiara

Today's sparkler goes by a few different names: commonly known as the Belgian Scroll Tiara or Société Générale Tiara, it is sometimes also referred to as Josephine-Charlotte's Belgian Tiara. From time to time even Congo is thrown somewhere in the name. All of these names reference either or both to the shape and the origin of the tiara.
This diamond tiara was made by Henry Coosemans in 1953 and features arched and tapered forms with stylised crescent, palmette and scroll motifs. The tiara is made of no less than 854 diamonds with a total weight of 46.42 carats and set in platinum. All diamonds come from the former colony of Belgium, Congo. The tiara includes a detachable diamond of 8.10 carats to be worn as a ring. The central panel can also be detached and worn as a brooch. Sotheby's estimated the value of the piece between 80.000 and 140.000 euros.

The tiara was given to then Princess Joséphine-Charlotte of Belgium on the occassion of her wedding to Hereditary Grand Duke Jean of Luxembourg by the Société Générale, a multinational bank with strong ties to Belgium, in 1953. Thus, the piece was personal property of the Grand Duchess until her death.
For her actual wedding ceremony, Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte wore the Congo Diamond Necklace Tiara, but for some reason - maybe the small size of the aforementioned tiara - she opted to also take wedding pictures with this tiara, which is totally fine with me and most tiara lovers out there, I suppose.

Throughout her married life, the Belgian Scroll Tiara remained a favourite of Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte. She wore it frequently for state visits, national day galas and other tiara events at home and abroad, even after her husband Grand Duke Jean abdicated. She lent it to her daughter-in-law Princess Sibilla on a number of occasions.
After the death of Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte, the family decided that they wanted to sell many of her jewels. Among them this tiara as well as the aforementioned Congo Diamond Necklace Tiara. The sale was already being prepared when a public outcry in the Luxembourg started. The public started to question everything, from the finances of the Grand Ducal Family to the relationships between family members.

Polls showed that 79 percent of Luxembourgers were firmly against the sell of their late Grand Duchess' jewellery and thus the family stopped the sale. Though it did not stop them from selling most of the jewels anyway, just in quieter fashion. Nevertheless, the sparkler was saved from being sold off and is now frequently worn by Grand Duchess Maria-Teresa.

Sources: Wort, Point de Vue, Sotheby's


  1. This post is largely based on this other one at OSE ( and I think that, due to respect to the work the other blogger has done, that it should be mentioned as the source. Just like this blog asks to "read this blog at this blog" and not to copy its content, I believe it should practice what it preaches.

  2. This post wasn't based on the post by OoS, an excellent site by the way, but on information that was made available to the public by Sotheby's at the time of the proposed auction, Wort articles from the time of the public outcry and a Point de Vue article about the tiara, as well as visuals of GD Josephine-Charlotte, GD Maria Teresa and Pss Sibilla wearing it at various events.

    I suppose that the article by OoS was based on the same information.

  3. I can only second what Luxarazzi said and wanted to add that this is, in
    fact, not the only picture of Sibilla wearing the tiara though it is by
    far the biggest with the best quality. Attached you can find two other
    pictures of occassions at which Sibilla wore the tiara. I seem to recall
    at least one other event though I cannot find the picture at the

    When you google most of the information you can find in
    this post, you will find numerous different websites that mention the
    specifics of this tiara. Due to the proposed sale, it is one of the few
    tiaras in the Luxembourgish collection that we actually know the details
    about. I believe that much of the information that is floating around
    on the internet about other Luxembourgish tiaras is actually false.

  4. I have been reading this blog for about 5 months. One of the things I like about it is its wit and its originality. I have been a hobby royal watcher for many years but I have learned a lot of things on this site and find the people who write it to be very straight in their sourcing and linking, and very credible. I have also seen other blogs just lift whole sections or write: "Guess what..." and claim the credit for something has appeared here, I don't want to discourage anyone so please there is room for everyone! I think one problem is that there are only so many ways you can skin a rabbit, so for example, when you have the facts about a piece of jewellery, what more can you do with them? The same happened, I recall, with the recent wedding guest list of G and S's wedding. I mean it was a list of names. How much plagiarising can you do! Sorry to ramble but if I had the time I'd be digging old stuff out, scanning from old mags, writing or e-mailing the cour. But as I don't I am just grateful that you do it for me! Courage, mes amies! Onwards and upwards...

  5. Oh yes, I've had it personally confirmed that nearly all of the "facts" floating around about the other Luxembourgish jewels (not just tiaras) is entirely false. Some of these erroneous facts are nearly 100 years old.

    I think man people are unaware of this or do not fully appreciate how difficult it makes writing articles such as this.

  6. I never meant to hurt the feelings of any of the writters. I very much appreciate this blog which is a great source on the Lux GDF. I was just amazed by the resemblance of both posts, the order in which information is cited and the pictures which appear.

    But obviously, there's the chance it is coincidence. That, only the writters can know. Otherwise, I am not questioning the quality of the work involved in this blog by any means.

    Concerning your comment "I understand that you have started your own blog about the Luxembourg family and are trying to build your own readership base.": No, I am not writing a blog anymore, but I thought readers may be interested to know about how the royal wedding was and felt the need to leave the information that is in it online rather than suppress it, that's why the blog is still on. So, NO, I am not "trying to build a readership base". Seems that yo know more about me than myself! But what strikes me is the amount of hermetism related to this blog and the forum. Why such need to track IP addresses and verify their identity (whether they have a blog or not, track their comments, for example)?

  7. To us it sounded as if you had planned for your blog to be a permanent thing.

    There is more information shared about the GDF on the LAF than anywhere else. A lot of this information comes from private sources close to the family or their relatives / friends and is partly confidential and thus should not be spread publicly. As it happened that posters from other forums have taken private information about the family from the forum and posted them in other places, we felt the need to protect the forum better.

    In the past, various members of the forum (including the bloggers on here) have had problems with people harrassing them asking for even more information to the point that identities were publicly exposed.

    Also, journalists from magazines with rather questionable reputation have tried to join the forum or lifted entire articles of this blog and translated them to put them into their magazines.

    In addition to that, there are members of the forum who have good relations with owners of society magazines and photographers and are thus allowed to go through their databases to find picturs of the extended family for free. They are only allowed to do that on the premises that the pictures do not end up in public. Again, some of these pictures have ended up in public in the past, so that is yet another reason for the safety measures related to the forum.

    The burnt child dreads the fire, as they say.