Today marks the Centenary of the Birth of Princess Fawzia of Egypt, who was born on this day 100 years ago! The stunning Egyptian Princess who became the first Queen of the last Shah of Iran, Princess Fawzia later returned to Egypt and becoming the oldest member of the deposed Muhammad Ali Dynasty residing in Egypt, and continued to possess her splendid jewellery collection. To mark the anniversary today, we are featuring Princess Fawzia’s glittering Van Cleef & Arpels Diamond Earrings!
In 1939, the Egyptian Royal Family commissioned a series of magnificent Jewels from Van Cleef & Arpels for the Wedding of Princess Fawzia of Egypt and Crown Prince Mohammad Reza Pahlavi of Iran, among them was a splendid Tiara and Necklace of pear-shaped and baguette diamonds, and two pairs of earrings, including these ones which feature spectacular pear-shaped Diamonds suspended from a scrolled Art Deco motif.
After wearing the earrings for her wedding at the Abdeen Palace in Cairo, the new Crown Princess Fawzia also wore them for a Banquet hosted by her brother, King Farouk of Egypt, in Cairo and the Banquet hosted by her father-in-law, the Shah of Iran, in Tehran.
Crown Prince Mohammad Reza Pahlavi acceded to the Throne in 1941 after the forced abdication of his wore, and the new Queen Fawzia notably wore the Earrings for a series of striking portraits, some taken by Cecil Beaton. However, the marriage did not last and due to depression and health problems, she returned to Egypt in 1945, with the divorce finalizing in 1948. The Van Cleef & Arpels Parure and Earrings returned with her.
Upon her return to Egypt, the demoted Princess Fawzia was one the leading ladies of the Egyptian Court, acting as First Lady after the divorce of her brother and the banishment of her mother, even after her remarriage to a commoner, continued to don her spectacular jewellery for grand occasions. After the Egyptian monarchy was deposed in 1953, as personal property the Van Cleef & Arpels Parure and Earrings were retained by Princess Fawzia, unlike many other royal jewels which were confiscated by the State, and remained in her collection until she passed away in 2013, when the jewellery was likely inherited by her three children.
While the fate of Princess Fawzia’s Van Cleef & Arpels Tiara and Necklace is unknown, the earrings have now been reacquired by the House of Van Cleef & Arpels and were displayed at an exhibition in Dubai in 2019. Lets hope we get to see these spectacular jewels again soon!