Today marks the anniversary of the Death of Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte of Luxembourg, the Belgian Princess who became the consort of the World’s only Grand Duchy, and to mark the anniversary, we are featuring her splendid Van Cleef & Arpels Ruby Suite, the culmination of many years of research.
When Princess Joséphine-Charlotte of Belgium married Hereditary Grand Duke Jean of Luxembourg, she received a Van Cleef & Arpels Ruby and Diamond Suite, consisting of a pair of earrings and a brooch in floral designs as well as a bracelet composed of three lines of oval rubies spaced by collet-set brilliant-cut diamonds and highlighted with brilliant-cut as well as baguette diamond links mounted in platinum. The suite was either a gift from her father, King Léopold III of Belgium, or Hereditary Grand Duke Jean, and was worn for a series of portraits in the days leading up to their Wedding in 1953, and upon her entry into Luxembourg. The Hereditary Grand Duchess also wore the Suite to the Gala Premiere of ‘Bigger Than Life’ at the Venice Film Festival in 1956.
The suite continued to be worn after becoming Grand Duchess in 1964, most often reserved for daytime events in later years. Grand Duchess Joséphine Charlotte also notably wore the Van Cleef & Arpels Ruby and Diamond Suite at the Wedding of Prince Nikolaus of Liechtenstein and her daughter, Princess Margaretha of Luxembourg, in 1982.
After her death in 2005, many of Grand Duchess Josephine Charlotte’s jewels were put on auction by her children, which was later cancelled due to public outcry. However, like many of the smaller jewels, the pieces of the Van Cleef & Arpels Ruby Suite were later auctioned, with the Brooch being sold for 14,800 euros and the Earrings for 22,200 euros at Sotheby’s in Geneva in 2009, though the Bracelet failed to sell until a few months later, for 57,870 euros. Some pieces were repurchased by Van Cleef & Arpels and are now part of the jeweller’s collection.
Luxembourg Royal Tiaras | Sapphire Necklace Tiara | Diamond Earrings | Floral Diamond Necklace | Van Cleef & Arpels Ruby Suite | Princess Ingeborg’s Pearl Brooch | Grand Duchess Maria-Ana’s Pearl Negligee Brooch