Saturday, July 26, 2014

Royally Speaking with Ella of The Court Jeweller and The Royal Roundup

In part two of our summer interview series I talked to the lovely Ella Kay who you might know from a number of different blogs she has dedicated her time to over the years...

From Mad Hattery via A Tiara a Day to The Court Jeweller and The Royal Roundup, I think I have been there as a faithful reader on every step of your royal blogging life. Was the progress from hats to jewels a natural one for you or have you always been primarily interested in royal jewels? 
I initially got interested in royals because I love history, and my first royal blog (also named The Royal Roundup, started way back in 2008) had lots of historical content. Mad Hattery branched off from there, and once I realized that I could talk about sparkly headpieces too, I was hooked on royal jewelry. I love the way that the jewels give you the chance to mix history lessons with unabashed gawking at beautiful objects.

The Danish ruby parure
Personally, one thing I always found incredibly interesting about royal jewels is their history. Of course they look pretty – well, most of them do – but learning who else wore a certain tiara or a certain necklace centuries ago and how they passed from one family to the other simply fascinates me. What is the most interesting story you have ever come across while researching royal jewellery?
The story of the Hessian tiara that survived the 1937 plane crash in Belgium is a historical jewel anecdote that always gives me chills. But it's also fascinating to see centuries-old jewels that are still worn. Knowing that the rubies worn by Crown Princess Mary of Denmark were worn 200 years ago by Desiree Clary at Napoleon's coronation, for example, adds an extra dimension of excitement when you see her wearing them today.

Digging into the Liechtenstein and Luxembourgish vaults… If you could borrow one tiara from either family for a night, which one would it be? And with which necklace, bracelet and earrings would you accessorize? 
That's a tough question, so I'm going to pick one from each! The Habsburg fringe tiara from the Liechtenstein collection is, in my opinion, maybe the best example of the type out there. And I'd love to have a crack at the vine leaves tiara from Luxembourg -- so romantic and beautiful! And you could load on the diamonds with either, of course. The beautiful collet necklace that Maria Teresa wears sometimes with the Empire tiara would be a perfect fit, along with Josephine-Charlotte's diamond pendant earrings. (They didn't sell those, did they???) [Note: Unfortunately they were.]

Photo: Tom Wagner
And now the opposite, which tiara from either collection would you take to the jeweller to give it a make-over because it simply does not appeal to you? 
Sorry to say that the little turquoise tiara from Luxembourg would be taking a trip to the jeweler. I know the piece is apparently one of the older items in the Nassau vaults, but it just doesn't seem to flatter anyone in its current state!

Lastly, if you could invite six royals (dead or alive) to a dinner party, who would find an invitation in their mailbox? (And which tiara should they be wearing?) 
This is a seriously difficult question! Here are my six guests (the all-female edition, since tiaras are required): 
- Queen Margrethe II of Denmark (wearing the emerald set from the Danish crown collection)
- Queen Mary of the United Kingdom (wearing the Girls of Great Britain & Ireland Tiara and every diamond in her line of sight)
- Tsarina Marie Feodorovna of Russia (wearing the sapphire parure from her 1874 portrait)
- Queen Marie of Romania (wearing one of her giant theatrical headpieces)
- Queen Maxima of the Netherlands (wearing the Stuart parure, of course!)
- Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom (wearing the Alexandra kokoshnik and every Cullinan stone she can find) 
[Honorable mentions, because this was an IMPOSSIBLE question: Marie-Adelaide of Luxembourg, the Duchess of Cornwall, Marie Antoinette, Josephine of Leuchtenberg, Queen Ena of Spain, Empress Eugenie of France, Josephine de Beauharnais, Queen Silvia of Sweden, Queen Sofia of Spain, Queen Victoria of the UK, Anne Boleyn, and Mary, Queen of Scots! WHEW.]

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