Happy Birthday to the Prince and Princess of Naples, who turn 81 and 83 respectively! As the Heads of the House of Savoy and pretenders to the former Thrones of Italy, the couple own a magnificent collection of heirloom jewels. In honour of their birthday, we are taking a look at some of the current and former jewels of the Italian Royal Family-
Commissioned by Queen Margherita of Italy, known as the Pearl Queen, to celebrate the birth of her grandson in 1904, this Musy Tiara can be worn in none different configurations. The Tiara was bequeathed to that grandson, King Umberto II, whose bride, Princess Marie Jose of Belgium, wore the Tiara on her wedding day. A favourite throughout her life, Queen Marie Jose wore the tiara frequently, even after the family went into exile in 1946. These days, the Musy Tiara is worn by the Princess of Naples, most notably at the wedding of Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark in 2004.
A wedding gift from Princess Elisabeth of Saxony from her mother-in-law, Queen Maria Teresa of Sardinia, when she married the Duke of Genoa in 1855, this Tiara comes with a a large parure, including a necklace, brooch, large pendant earrings, choker, and two bracelets, with the pink tourmalines designed to be switched for garnets, coral, or turquoises. Having been inherited by Queen Margherita in 1912, from her mother Princess Elisabeth, the parure has been passed down in the main line of the family, and has been frequently worn by the Princess of Naples, who favours the choker and earrings for all manner of occasions. The tiara got it’s most famous outing on the Princess of Venice’s wedding day in 2003. She has also worn the earrings to many events.
Originally two rows of sapphires, this necklace was frequently worn by Queen Marie Jose and after her death was divided between the Prince of Naples and Princess Maria Gabriella. The larger strand has been worn a couple of times by the Princess of Naples and in 2005, was worn in a shorter version by the Princess of Venice at the inauguration gala of Prince Albert II of Monaco.
Commissioned by Crown Prince Umberto from Genoan jeweller Chiappe as a wedding gift for his bride, Princess Marie Jose, in 1930, this necklace features diamond flowers between the traditional Savoian knots and was worn by Queen Marie Jose in one of her famous portraits. The necklace was also on the cover of the book Jewellery of the House of Savoy by Stefano Papi and Princess Maria-Gabriella of Savoy. Last year, a part of the necklace was worn by the Princess of Venice at the Garden of Kalahari Film Presentation at the Theatre du Chatelet in Paris.
This pearl choker, featuring a large emerald clasp is a favourite of the Princess of Naples, and comes from Queen Margherita’s fabulous emerald parure, which was commissioned in 1841 by King Charles Albert of Sardinia for his daughter-in-law, Archduchess Maria Adelaide of Austria from the Viennese jeweller Delsotto. It was extensively remodelled by her daughter-in-law, Queen Margherita, and passed down the family until being sold in 1985, with only a few pieces remaining.
Part of the Italian Crown Jewels, this pearl and diamond tiara was made by Musy in 1883 for Queen Margherita. Frequently worn by Queen Elena, especially after she sold her jewels during WWI, the tiara was not pictured on Queen Marie Jose during the month she was Queen. Before leaving for exile in 1946, the Crown Jewels, including this Tiara, were left in the vault of the Bank of Italy with a note that said ‘to those entitled’. A decision has not been reached regarding their fate, no one could decide who was ‘entitled’, so they still remain in the Bank vault.
Originating from Grand Duchess Stéphanie of Baden, this gold, pearl, and diamond tiara was made in 1830, and was given to Queen Marie Jose as an 18th birthday gift in 1924. Worn frequently in her younger years, it was inherited by her daughter, Princess Maria Gabriella, who sold it at Christie’s in 2007, where the tiara was bought by the Mannheim Museum.
Made by Mellerio dits Meller in 1867, this Diamond Wreath Tiara was shown at the Exposition Universelle in Paris before being bought by King Victor Emmanuel II of Italy for his daughter-in-law, Princess Margherita of Savoy, in 1868. Worn frequently by Queen Margherita throughout her life, this Tiara was worn by Queen Marie Jose during in exile, and now belongs to the Albion Art Institute, having been sold by one of Queen Marie Jose’s daughters.
Made by Petochi in the 1950s, from a Pearl and Diamond devant de corsage belonging to Queen Elena, this Tiara was usually worn by Princess Maria Pia, most notably at her Pre-Wedding Gala in 1955.
Worn by Princess Maria Pia for her wedding in 1955, the Diamond Flower and Wreath Tiara features diamond ears of wheat with a diamond flower at it’s center. The tiara was also worn by Princess Maria Beatrice. While the current location of the ears of wheat is unknown, the diamond flower has been frequently worn by the Princess of Naples.