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 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.
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.
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.
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!