Saturday, May 3, 2014

Luxarazzi 101: Nassau Rose Brooches

Whenever the invitation requires a royal lady to get out her full regalia including tiaras and orders for a special occasion, brooches or pins to hold said order's sash in place are usually never far away. (Unless you are Queen Elizabeth II and continue to wear brooches for basically every engagement, something that most other royal ladies have long abandoned.) Every time the Grand Ducal ladies require an all diamond brooch to go with the rest of their outfit, they usually either opt for Princess Ingeborg's Brooch or one of the three goodies above which we are going to call the Nassau Rose Brooches.

While the brooch originally owned by Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte's grandmother has only come into the Grand Ducal Family rather recently, the rose brooches have been in the family for a looong time. (Then again, maybe not that looong considering that the Nassau family was firstly mentioned around 1093.) While neither their creator nor the exact date of creation are known, I can tell you that their entrance into the family predates the year 1859. As one does, the Ducal Family of Nassau had an inventory of their jewellery done that year and the three brooches were mentioned in it.
Photos: Eduard Kutter, Tom Wagner
Since then, various grand ducal ladies - for example (from left to right) Grand Duchess Charlotte, Princess Elisabeth, Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte and Grand Duchess Maria-Teresa - have been sporting the brooches together with or without sashes. Mounted in silver and gold, the three brooches feature 595, 541 and 472 diamonds respectively. (And no, I did not count them myself but that's a job I'd like to have, royal diamond enumerator.) Each of the brooches is set in a slightly different motif consisting of a large rose and leaves surrounding the blossom. Like a lot of old jewellery, there were reinforcements added to the brooches later on to hold the diamonds in place. All of the three brooches have slightly different measures. 

According to the inventory, the brooches are part of an even larger set. Parts of them either come from a devant de corsage, a large stomacher, or a tiara. While there is one floral tiara - Number 28 on this list - which used to be worn by Grand Duchess Charlotte and has long been unseen, its centre element doesn't really look like any of the floral brooches above.

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