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Royal French Tiaras: Queen Marie-Amélie’s Sapphire and Pearl Tiara

Queen Marie-Amélie's Sapphire and Pearl Tiara, which luckily was not a part of the French Crown Jewels.
Queen Marie-Amélie's Sapphire and Pearl Tiara
Queen Marie-Amélie’s Sapphire and Pearl Tiara

Often times, tiaras become a part of the Crown Jewels of whatever country in which they originated and baring the dismantling of the monarchy, they remain a part of the jewels belonging to the State and move from monarch to monarch. Sometimes, however, lovely jewels end up being the property of the royals themselves and something like a little abdication doesn’t separate the sparkles from their owner. Just like Queen Marie-Amélie’s Sapphire and Pearl Tiara, which luckily was not a part of the French Crown Jewels.

Queen Marie-Amélie's Sapphire and Pearl Tiara
Queen Marie-Amélie in several of her sapphires. That hat though. If you look closely, it’s really the tiara strung across her hat!

Queen Marie-Amélie may not be a household name. Nor are her two sapphire tiaras well known to most of us. But that won’t stop us from drooling after them and investigating her. Who was she? Well, she was the wife of Louis-Philippe, a former King of France, who ruled from 1830 to 1848 and then like many of those before and after him in France, abdicated the throne and went into exile. Luckily, she took her sapphires with her. But before that, she was Maria Amalia Theresa of Bourbon, Princess of Naples-Sicily, was born on 26 April 1787. Her mother was Austrian and her father was King of both Naples and Sicily. She met Louis-Philippe in 1806 and on November 25, 1809, when she was 22 years old, they married in Palermo.

The full sapphire parure that accompanied the tiara.

No doubt she had many tiaras, but this tiara, one of two sapphire tiaras she owned (because can you really ever have enough sapphire tiaras?), was made up of seven Sri Lankan oval sapphires, with graduated diamond surrounds, sitting on a base of diamonds with pearl and sapphire side stones. Made from jewels in Mari-Amélie’s existing collection, the tiara was created by Bapst, and last we knew, it was still residing in its original case.

A close up of a portion of the sapphire tiara.

Of course, that’s hard to say for certain these days. It was passed down, along with the rest of the parure, which included three brooches, a pair of earrings and a belt buckle or central plaque to a bracelet (unclear on that piece), to her youngest son, Antoine, Duke of Montpensier. But now, like the second sapphire tiara, it no longer belongs to the Orléans family, having been auctioned off in the 1990s.

Queen Marie-Amélie's Sapphire and Pearl Tiara
The sapphire tiara with the addition of some larger pearls, that I can find mention of no where. Is it a replica? Perhaps.

Do you like it? What happened to the alternate pearls shown with it (I can see them in a photo but couldn’t find mention of them)? I’d love to hear your insights and thoughts in the comments!


7 Responses

  1. I am no Photoshop expert but I’m afraid that the photo with the added, larger pearls is definitely Photoshopped, you can tell that the pearls were cut and then pasted over the image due to the outline of the pearls themselves, the way they do not blend into the crown fixtures below them at all, and even seeing that the metal holdings of the pearls are vastly different from the rest of the metal on the crown, which is due to the pearls being from an image with different lighting and like a different crown altogether. Likely someone found the style of the pearls on a different tiara piece and tried splicing them onto this crown of Marie Amélie. Bu the outline of the pearls and the poor cutout job indicates Photoshop, which likely explains why you could not find any information of such a version of this headpiece, as it didn’t actually exist.

  2. The second tiara that you are showing, was that a seperate tiara? It looks like the sapphires were lowered. Not set high like the first image.

  3. The ring in the pasture looks almost identical to the Duchess of Cambridge ring. The late Princess Diana’s ring.

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