Today marks the anniversaries of the death of Queen Emma of the Netherlands and Queen Juliana of the Netherlands, and to mark the day, we are featuring one of the most prominent heirlooms of Queen Emma, which she left to her granddaughter; Queen Emma’s Sapphire Bow Brooch.
Featuring a very large oval, cushion cut sapphire which originates from Queen Anna Pavlovna, the sapphire is set into a large, ornate bow brooch, with an oval sapphire pendant, and was commissioned by King Willem III of The Netherlands, the son of Queen Anna Pavlovna, probably from Oscar Massin.
King Willem III presented the Sapphire Bow Brooch to the much younger Princess Emma of Waldeck and Pyrmont to mark their engagement in 1878. Queen Emma gradually assembled a substantial Sapphire Parure, including the large Sapphire Tiara, and wore her large Sapphire Bow Brooch for more informal portraits and also for many state portraits, especially when she served as the Regent for her young daughter, Queen Wilhelmina. Queen Emma continued to wear her Sapphire Parure throughout her widowhood, including for the Wedding of her Queen Wilhelmina, and retained her Sapphire Bow Brooch up until her death.
After Queen Emma’s death in 1934, she left her Sapphire Bow Brooch, and the rest of her Sapphire Parure, to her only granddaughter, Crown Princess Juliana, who began wearing the Brooch in the 1930s and continued to wear it up until her abdication in 1980.
After her abdication, Queen Juliana passed Queen Emma’s Sapphire Bow Brooch, and the Sapphire Parure, to her daughter, Queen Beatrix, who prominently wore Brooch for a French State Visit in 1984, a fitting tribute to the French origins of the Brooch. While the Sapphire Tiara was a favourite of Queen Beatrix, Queen Emma’s Sapphire Brooch is not the only sapphire bow brooch in the Dutch Royal Collection and was not pictured for a few decades.
Queen Máxima first wore the Sapphire version of Queen Emma’s Bow Brooch for an Argentine State Visit in 2017, and later with the Sapphire Tiara at King Harald and Queen Sonja’s 80th Birthday Banquet. Earlier, she had worn the Brooch with a large citrine from the Dutch Royal Collection, which has also been worn by Princess Margriet. There is no doubt we will continue to see Queen Emma’s Sapphire Bow Brooch for years to come.