Guest Author · Netherlands


We are very lucky to have a guest writer for today’s posts, our friend Edwin Fellner from DutchRoyalJewels. Here’s Part Two of his fabulous report–including a special piece of new information! Enjoy!

#5 The “Stuart“ Diamond Bow Brooch

The diamond triple bow stomacher or devant de corsage was created by court jeweler E. Schürmann & Co from Frankfurt am Main, along with “Stuart“ tiara and necklace in 1898. He used elements and the house diamonds from the Orange-Nassau collection. The triple bows are set with old mine diamonds and three large stones set in the central axis. A cluster of diamonds and pear shaped diamonds pendants is suspended from the bottom bow. The brooch can be worn in several settings. Some of these diamonds date back from the 17th century. The two triangular rose cut diamonds belonged to Queen Mary II and are considered to be quite rare due to their age and shape.

Queen Wilhelmina has worn the bow brooch together with the tiara. Juliana was the first Dutch Queen who wore the complete “parure”. Beatrix has never worn any part of these jewels. The brooch reappeared in 2013 but not in it’s original setting. Queen Maxima opted to wear a smaller version (only the bows). Maxima waited until 2018, before she wore the full version again.

#6  The Mellerio Ruby Devant de Corsage

This diamond and ruby parure was a gift from King Willem III to his second wife, Queen Emma in 1889. Made by the famous jeweler Mellerio dits Meller in Paris, for the huge sum of fl.160.000, the diamond and ruby parure contains ornaments with a neo-renaissance design. The unique parure consists of: a diadem, necklace with a large clasp, brooch, devant de corsage, bracelet, earrings and a fan. This ruby set is by far the most complete parure in the Orange-Nassau collection. The rubies have an exceptional quality and there’s a large number of fairly large diamonds used which explains the enormous sum which was paid for this set. The large stomacher or devant de corsage, which can be taken apart to form smaller brooches or pendants, has the same motif as the festoons from the tiara. Queen Emma wore the lower central element from the devant de corsage with the pendants attached to a white gold chain necklace. Princess Margriet used the lower part of the central element as a brooch and Queen Beatrix wore the same central element attached to a rivière of diamonds. Not long ago, Queen Maxima surprised us all wearing a new version of the stomacher; the brooch combined with the stomacher’s lower part. Originally, the devant de corsage was planned as a middle part of the necklace. After trying the silver work-model, Queen Emma disapproved the original design and the middle piece became a huge stomacher.

Here’s the scoop!

#7 Mellerio’s large unknown Iris Flower Brooch

After the marriage of King Willem III and Emma, the Dutch jewel collection was substantially expanded. Willem spoiled his younger wife with the most expensive and beautiful jewels. After an initial small and careful order in November 1882, the Parisian jeweler Mellerio dits Meller received a huge(!) order from the Dutch King in May 1888. Tiaras, necklaces, bracelets, small brooches, hat pins and earrings were ordered for the young Dutch queen. A large part of these jewels are still being worn by members of the Dutch royal family. However, there’s one jewel of this royal shopping list, which is an unknown piece. The Mellerio bill from 1888 mentioned “1 broche fleur iris sapphires briljante et roses” meaning a huge diamond and sapphire iris flower brooch. So, we were well aware of the existence of this brooch, but we didn’t see this mysterious jewel ever. At the archives of Mellerio in Paris, we still can find the original working sketch of this exceptional piece of jewelry, but pictures of this brooch were missing…until now!

At the archives of the former court jeweler, I have found a few old pictures of the Dutch royal jewels.  And to my great surprise, I also discovered a clear picture of the Mellerio Iris Flower Brooch as described above! The brooch was pictured with other jewels and therefore is it possible to estimate the size of the brooch, estimated to be about 20 cm (almost 7.9 inches) long.

Unfortunately, this piece of jewelry has never been shown or worn in public . The logical question whether the brooch is still a part of the content of the Dutch vault or has been lost (broken up/given away), is hard to answer. I think we should putting our hope on our magpie, Max. Maybe, just maybe, she has a small surprise waiting for us in the future… Let’s hope so!

Which of this selection of Dutch devants de corsage delights you? What are your favorite appearances of these jewels?

What do you think of the Mellerio Iris Flower Brooch and when do you think would be the best time for Max to break it out and surprise everyone?