This post is one day late, but bear with me, we have three weeks of magnificent parures ahead of us. A parure is a full suit of jewels, with tiara, necklace, earrings, brooches, pins, combs and bracelet. A full parure came in vogue during the Napoleonic era, and a woman of fashion (and the right social circles) should really have several parures with different coloured stones and preferably cameos too.
I’m taking a slight detour to Denmark today. This suit once belonged to the Swedish Royal Family, but since it was never part of The Bernadotte Family Foundation, it slipped out of our hands (our, as in Swedes everywhere). The suit likely belonged to the very first Bernadotte Queen, Desiree (Queen consort of King Charles XIV John of Sweden who reigned 1818-1844). For some reason, she didn’t let the parure become part of the foundation and instead it ended up in Denmark when Princess Louise married into the Danish royal family in 1869. Lucky Danes. (Are you able to read between the lines that I’m very much in favour of foundations that keep serious bling within our borders?)
Tradition claims Queen Desiree wore this at the coronation of Emperor Napoleon. Yes that Napoleon, and that Coronation. This is serious Historical Napoleonic Spectacular Bling. On a side-note, Desiree was once engaged to Napoleon, before a certain Josephine caught his eye.
At the time of her death, the inventory of her estate describes this parure as consisting of oriental rubies surrounded by diamonds. Specified are a comb, a pair of chandelier earrings, a necklace, a pin and a garland of wine leafs with clusters of red wineberries. The photo above shows the garland tiara in its current shape (it was refashion in the 20th century), but below you’ll see a photo of the late Queen consort of Denmark, Ingrid (also born Princess of Sweden), wearing the garland tiara as it used to look like. She uses the comb as a corsage here.
The comb was probably used as an additional hair piece with the tiara. More about the regency fashion with double-decker tiaras in this post.
Today the comb has been attached to the tiara, creating less of a regency piece, but a killer tiara (in my humble opinion). Queen Ingrid gave the parure to her grandson, the current Crown Prince of Denmark, and it is use by his wife, Crown Princess Mary. She only wears it for special occasions, and almost solely in Denmark. It did however make a brief re-visit to Sweden at the wedding of the Crown Princess of Sweden in 2010.