Today marks the 115th Anniversary of the Birth of Princess Anne, Duchess of Aosta, who was born on this day in 1906! The daughter of Prince Jean, Duke of Guise and Princess Isabelle of Orléans, in 1927, she married her first cousin, Prince Amedeo of Savoy, the Duke of Apulia. The couple had two daughters, Princess Margherita, Archduchess of Austria-Este and Princess Maria Cristina of the Bourbon Two Sicilies, and became the Duke and Duchess of Aosta in 1931. The Duchess had a very interesting jewellery collection, which included heirloom pieces, such as the Savoy-Aosta Emerald Necklace and the Savoy-Aosta Choker Bandeau and pieces that were commissioned/bought for her, namely the Savoy-Aosta Tiara. Today, in honour of the birthday of the late Duchess, we are featuring her Ruby Demi-Parure!
This demi-parure of rubies and diamonds consists of a necklace and a pair of earrings. Due to its modern design, it was probably acquired in the 1950s. The necklace replicates some sort of a diamond wreath, studded with round cabochon rubies. At its centre there are several ruby cascades. The earrings consist of a simple cluster with an oval ruby surrounded by diamonds and the same ruby cascades featured in the centre of the necklace.
It’s first known owner was Princess Anne, by the time the Dowager Duchess of Aosta. She most notably wore it at the Serra Ball, organized by the Duke and Duchess di Serra Di Cassano, that took place in September 1960, in Naples. On that occasion, she was accompanied by the then Hereditary Grand Duchess Josephine-Charlotte of Luxembourg.
Later that same year, Princess Anne loaned this demi-parure to her youngest daughter, Princess Maria Cristina. She wore it at one of the Wedding Balls of King Baudouin and the Spanish-born aristocrat Fabiola de Mora y Aragón, pairing it with another piece loaned to her by her mother, the Savoy-Aosta Tiara. Nothing is publicly known about the fate of this demi-parure. It was probably inherited by one of Princess Anne’s daughters after her death, in 1986. Unfortunately for us, both of them live a quiet social life, far from the media focus, not giving many opportunities to have a glimpse on their amazing jewellery collections. Let’s hope this demi-parure make an appearance in the future.
Princess Anna Cecilia of Bourbon-Two Siciles, the daughter of Princess Maria Cristina, wore the the Duchess of Aosta’s Ruby Necklace for the Wedding Gala of Infanta Maria Francisca de Bragança in 2023.
This article written by assistant editor, David Rato, who runs the Spanish Royal Jewels account on Instagram!