Today marks the Anniversary of the Death of Queen Fabiola of Belgium, who died on this day in 2014. A Spanish Aristocrat who married into the quite jewel-poor Belgian Royal Family, Queen Fabiola’s jewellery collection was often supplemented by acquisitions and gifts from King Baudouin, including her Waterfall Brooch, like today’s piece, her Tunisian Parure.
Consisting of a gem-set necklace, gem-set earrings, and at least two gold bracelets, the parure contains diamonds, rubies and green gemstones, that could be emeralds, tanzanites, tourmalines or agates. The Parure was bought by King Baudouin as a gift for Queen Fabiola while on holiday in Tunisia sometime in the late 1960s. Queen Fabiola wore her parure quite frequently, often paired with her Spanish Wedding Gift Tiara and Wolfers Necklace Tiara, with notable appearances during the State Visit to Finland in 1969, the Persepolis Celebrations in 1971, the Belgian State Visit to India, the Wedding of Princess Astrid of Belgium and Archduke Lorenz of Austria-Este, and the Coronation of Emperor Akihito in 1990.
Unlike some other jewels, Queen Fabiola did not wear her Tunisian Parure publicly during her widowhood, but at some point before she passed away, the Parure was given to her niece-in-law, now Queen Mathilde of Belgium. In 2013, the then Crown Princess wore the earrings at a Gala following the Inauguration of the King of The Netherlands. They were also worn during the Belgian State Visit to Poland in 2015, paired with a gold bracelet that had not been seen on Queen Fabiola. There is no doubt, we will continue to see pieces from the Tunisian Parure, or hopefully the full set, worn for years to come.