Happy Birthday to Doña Matilde Solis-Beaumont, who turns 60 today! The Spanish aristocrat who was once married to the current Duke of Alba, and is the mother of the Duke of Huéscar and the Count of Osorno. To mark the Anniversary, we are taking a look at an heirloom from her own family, the La Motilla Sapphire Tiara!
Made in the beginning of the XX century by Ansorena, jeweller to the Spanish Crown since 1855 and supplier of many Spanish noble and prominent families, it features nine fan-shaped elements, with diamonds alternating in two sizes, framing nine important cushion-cut sapphires, emerging from a scroll base, interested by diamond-set spikes. It can be easily converted into a necklace.
Although it is commonly known as the Motilla Sapphire tiara, this piece came into the family via Doña Isabel Martínez Campos, who was a Marchioness of La Motilla by marriage. By family tradition, it is linked with the Duchy of Seo de Urgell, as it was worn by one of the Duchesses to a wedding in Madrid in 1919 and later by the Countess of Barbate, aunt and godmother of Doña Isabel, from whom she inherited it.
As a devout Catholic, in accordance with the secular Sevillean tradition of borrowing jewels to the images of the Virgin Mary, so they can be admired and worshipped as “rightful Queens of Heaven”, the Marchioness allowed it to be worn by the image of the Virgen de la Merced several times, both as a tiara and necklace. The Motilla family is very partial to this Hermandad, which is located side by side with the family’s palace. Information kindly shared by @SevillaStereoscopica
The Marchioness was photographed wearing it as necklace on several occasions, most notably when her daughter, Doña Matilde Solís-Beaumont, married the heir to the Dukedom of Alba in a lavish ceremony in Seville on this day in 1988, which was her 25th Birthday.
Doña Isabel also loaned the Sapphire Tiara to some of her female descendants and newcomers into the family for their respective wedding ceremonies, namely some of her daughters, granddaughters and daughter-in-law, though most family brides wear a Diamond Tiara also in the family collection.
In 2018, Doña Matilde Solís wore the Sapphire Tiara as a necklace for the wedding of her eldest son, the Duke of Huéscar, to Sofia Palazuelo, echoing her mother’s choice from 30 years before.
This article was written by assistant editor, David Rato, who runs the Spanish Royal Jewels account on Instagram!