Today marks the anniversary of the birth of the late Queen Fabiola of the Belgians, daughter of the Marquess and Marchioness of Casa Riera, Fabiola Fernanda Maria de las Victorias Antonia Adelaïda de Mora y Aragón was born on this day in 1928! Despite the fact that the Belgian Royal Family is known for having the smallest jewellery collection among the European monarchies, Queen Fabiola was able to assemble a decent jewelry collection, including Tunisian Parure, the Wolfers Necklace Tiara, the Waterfall Brooch, her Aquamarines and the Spanish Wedding Gift Tiara. Today, in honour of the birthday of the late Queen, we are featuring her collection of bracelets.
Diamond Art Deco Bracelet
This Art Deco inspired piece is set with brilliant and baguette cut diamonds. It is the most impressive bracelet that was once part of the Queen’s collection. Due to its design it is often speculated that the piece could be an heirloom from King Baudouin’s mother, Queen Astrid, although this was never confirmed. The Queen wore the bracelet on many gala occasions such as the British State Visit to Belgium in 1966. Nothing is known about the piece’s current whereabouts, but let us hope it appears on Queen Mathilde soon.
A wedding gift from her brother and sister-in-law, the then Prince and Princess of Liège, Albert and Paola, this bracelet consists of a line of rectangular rubies surrounded by two lines of round diamonds. Queen Fabiola wore this piece plenty of times, including her Wedding Ball at the Royal Palace of Brussels in 1960 and the Belgian State Visit to Britain in 1963. After the Queen’s death, this piece was inherited by the wife of her nephew, Queen Mathilde, who debuted it on a state banquet in honour of the King and Queen of Jordan in 2016. Since then, it has been a frequent in Queen Mathilde’s jewellery choices, including at King Harald and Queen Sonja’s 80th Birthday Banquet.
Art Deco Sautoir
Queen Fabiola also had an adjustable and very versatile Art Deco diamond sautoir, that she wore in various configurations. Although its provenance remains unknown, Doña Fabiola wore it often and sometimes divided this piece in various bracelet sections.
Gold and Diamond Bracelet
This piece consists of a golden cuff with a large diamond scroll element (set with brilliant and baguette diamonds) attached to its centre. It was given to Doña Fabiola as a wedding gift by the city of Antwerpen in 1960. The central element can be detached and worn as a brooch. There is an additional diamond “tail” that can be added to it, creating a larger brooch. The Queen notably wore it during the Belgian State Visit to Spain in 1978. This bracelet is not seen since her death in 2014.
Aquamarine Bracelet #1
Featuring rectangular aquamarines intercepted by diamond elements, this bracelet was reportedly given to Queen Fabiola during a visit to Brazil. Although not as impressive as some of her other bracelets, the Queen seems to have favoured this very much, often with her Spanish Wedding Gift Tiara, wearing it on many occasions, such as the Wedding Ball of King Constantine of Greece and Princess Anne Marie of Denmark in 1964. She kept wearing it even after she become widow. After her death, its whereabouts remain unknown.
Aquamarine Bracelet #2
Very similar to the bracelet mentioned above, this one also features rectangular aquamarines set in diamonds. This chain bracelet was one of the pieces the Queen inherited from her mother, Blanca de Aragón y Carrillo de Albornoz.
Aquamarine Bracelet #3
The Queen also owned a bracelet featuring a large oval aquamarine that she rarely wore, most notably for a Japanese State Visit to Belgium in 1971. This piece shares many similarities with a piece that once belonged to King Baudouin’s grandmother, Queen Elisabeth’s Diamond Bandeau.
The major part of Queen Fabiola’s jewellery collections, including the bracelets mentioned above, remains unworn since she died in 2014. Many speculate (and hope) that they were passed on to Queen Mathilde. Let’s hope that the Queen (or the Duchess of Brabant, who has just come of age) finds an appropriate event to debut more items from her late aunt’s collection.
This article written by assistant editor, David Rato, who runs the Spanish Royal Jewels account on Instagram!