Empress Frederick’s Pearl Earrings 

Today marks the 90th Anniversary of the Death of Queen Sophia of Greece, who died on this day in 1932! The third daughter of Kaiser Friedrich III of Germany and Victoria, the Princess Royal, who become the much exiled Queen of the Hellenes, Queen Sophia had a splendid Jewellery Collection, and to mark the anniversary, we are featuring Empress Fredrick’s Pearl and Diamond Earrings!

Diamond Tiara | Diamond Circle Tiara | Diamond Fringe TiaraRuby Brooch | Pearl Corsage Brooch | Pearl Earrings | Star Sapphire Brooch

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Of uncertain provenance, this substantial pair of earrings, featuring two large diamond studs suspending two pear-shaped pearls, was part of Empress Frederick’s important jewellery collection. ‘Vicky’, as she was known in the family, was pictured in the 1890s wearing the Pearl Earrings together with her Pearl Corsage Brooch and matching Necklace.

After the Empress’ death in 1901, the Earrings were inherited by her daughter Sophia, the then Duchess of Sparta, married to the Heir to the Greek Throne. The Duchess paired them often with some of her most important jewels, namely her large Diamond Tiara and her Diamond Fringe Tiara. King Constantine and Sophia succeeded as King and Queen of the Hellenes in 1913. By then, the new monarchs were photographed together with their children:  the future King George IIKing AlexanderKing Paul of GreeceQueen Helen of Romania, and Princess Irene, Duchess of Aosta. On that occasion, Queen Sophia was wearing her mother’s Pearl Earrings with her Diamond Circle Tiara.

The Queen lived a turbulent life, marked by periods of exile, the Balkan wars, assassination attempts and the First World War, that divided her family into two factions. During those precarious years, she reportedly had to sell some of her jewels as a way to face her expenses. Nevertheless, Queen Sophia was able to retain her Pearl Earrings. In 1922, she was photographed wearing them, paired with her Diamond Fringe Tiara, while holding her grandson, the future King Michael I of Romania.

After her death in 1932, the Pearl Earrings were inherited by her second daughter, Princess Irene. At a certain point, Princess Irene decided to refashion the earrings, creating two different options: a pearl and a diamond one. For that, an elongated diamond element, meant to sustain either the diamond studs or the pear-shaped pearls, was commissioned.

The Princess wore the diamond version during the Wedding of Crown Prince Paul of Greece and Princess Frederica of Hanover in 1938 and to her own Wedding to Prince Aimone, Duke of Spoleto in 1939. The pearl version was chosen for the Christening of Queen Sofia of Spain in 1939, for a Gala Performance at the Florence Opera House, as well as to the Wedding Gala of the now-Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh.

Princess Irene’s impeccable family tree meant that she was often invited to many royal events both in her native Greece and abroad. For the major part of those occasions, the Duchess of Aosta (title received upon her marriage) wore her Diamond and Pearl Drop Earrings, namely at , the Wedding Ball of Archduke Robert of Austria and Princess Margherita of Savoy-Aosta in 1953, the Wedding Gala of Prince Alexander of Yugoslavia and Princess Maria Pia of Italy in 1955, the 60th Anniversary Banquet of her brother, King Paul of the Hellenes, the Wedding Gala of Prince Juan Carlos and Princess Sofia , some events that took place marking the centenary of the Greek Monarchy and to both the Wedding Gala and the Wedding Ceremony of King Constantine II of Greece and Princess Anne Marie of Denmark.

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The Earrings were also worn by Princess Irene (the same way as on her wedding day) on the Marriage Celebrations of her only son, Prince Amedeo, Duke of Aosta, to Princess Claude of France that took place in Sintra, Portugal. Nothing is publicly known about the fate of the Earrings after Princess Irene’s death in 1974. They were probably sold by her or by her son, Prince Amedeo, at a certain point, like the fate of her Diamond Fringe Tiara.

This article was written by assistant editor, David Rato, who runs the Spanish Royal Jewels account on Instagram!

Diamond Tiara | Diamond Circle Tiara | Diamond Fringe TiaraRuby Brooch | Pearl Corsage Brooch | Pearl Earrings | Star Sapphire Brooch


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