Queen Wilhelmina's sapphire bow brooch

Queen Wilhelmina's sapphire bow brooch

Now Beatrix’ son Willem-Alexander is King, Queen Máxima has unlimited access to the extensive jewellery collection of the Dutch royal family. Beatrix as Queen had a clear preference for a certain number of jewels, and as a result parts of the collection haven’t been seen in public in a long time. With the arrival of Queen Máxima it is expected these jewels will resurface again, and last Saturday was one of those occasions.

On February 1st, 2014 the Netherlands thanked Princess Beatrix for her 33-year tenure as Queen with a concert in Rotterdam. On the jewellery front Queen Máxima drew the most attention by wearing a large sapphire and diamond bow brooch that was last seen on Queen Beatrix in 1981. It was made for Queen Wilhelmina, Beatrix’ grandmother, in the years before 1900.

Queen Anna's sapphire

While Wilhelmina was Queen since 1890, at age 10, it was her inauguration in 1898 that started her 50-year era as head of state. In those years many new jewels were made for Queen Wilhelmina employing inherited stones, such as diamonds from the historic family collection, rubies from Queen Sophie, the first wife of Wilhelmina’s father King Willem III, and large sapphires originally belonging to King Willem’s mother Queen Anna, Grand Duchess Anna of Russia. These sapphires where inherited by the King’s younger brother Prince Hendrik. He died childless and the sapphires reverted to the main line of the royal family: then Princess Wilhelmina. 

This diamond bow brooch has a spectacular central rectangular Ceylon sapphire that originally belonged to Queen Anna and then to Prince Hendrik. Contrary to many jewels from the last decades of the 19th century in the Dutch collection, the design of this bow brooch is – even now – quite modern. The abstract feel and the naturalistic fluidity of the design is influenced by the art nouveau that was so popular from 1895 on. The brooch was last seen on Queen Beatrix in 1981 with a sapphire and diamond pendant attached to it. Queen Wilhelmina used to wear this brooch in the same version. The first images of this jewel date from 1901, a few years after it was made.     

Queen Máxima last Saturday. The earrings are made from the necklace Queen Wilhelmina is wearing in the painting below.










Queen Wilhelmina with the bow brooch including pendant.