In Defense of the Tiara – The Dutch Pearl Button

For our next face off, we’re doing some convertible tiaras. From a little convertible, like today’s to some that have more options than you can count!

Today though we are focusing on a tiara that was converted from a vault fave to a very special wedding tiara: The Dutch Pearl Button.

The original tiara

The History

It is thought that the base of the tiara once belonged to Queen Sophie, but while the design is close, it’s not exact.

The buttons of this tiara started as small brooches that also belonged to Queen Sophie.

However the pieces started life, they came together in 1967 for Princess Margriet to wear for her wedding to Pieter van Vollenhoven.

The tiara also played a part in Queen Beatrix’s inauguration.

It was worn by various members of the Royal Family, through the 80s and 90s, and the base was used to created Máxima Zorreguieta’s wedding tiara. The stars for Máxima’s tiara came from the Royal Vault; they are 10-point diamond stars brooches that once belonged to Queen Emma.

The Case for the Tiara

LG: While the original design of this piece doesn’t “wow” me, it’s a good piece for any Royal Vault: good size, pearls, diamonds, and seems to work on everyone. That said, Max’s version of this one is one of my Top 5 Wedding Tiaras (oh…there’s an idea for a post…). She looked stunning, and managed to take a very standard tiara and make it her own.

The Handbag: I love it, particularly in the star format. I like the space and airyness of it, if you can call something so laden with pearls and diamonds and design airy. It is also a great match to the two major wearers, Oma and Max. Not easy, since both are strong but different personalities.

The Case against the Tiara

OC: This is not my favorite piece in the Dutch vault. I appreciate how it can be changed around and I prefer the star version. That being said, it leaves something to be desired in overall design. Perhaps it is the size of the toppers which require spacing that isn’t appealing to me?

LiL: I don’t know. I like it with the stars, and I like it on darker hair, especially the way Princess Margriet has it styled. But it sort of all falls apart on blondes. So unless it’s earmarked for “Middle A”, I’m going to have to pass.

What are your thoughts on the Dutch Pearl Button Tiara?

Random Royaling – Kingsday Concert 2019

The Dutch royals attended the annual King’s Day (Koningsdag) concert en famille – Willem-Alexander and Maxima were there, of course, as were Princess Beatrix, Prince Constantijn and Princess Laurentien. Fun fact! The King’s Day concert takes place in the month before King’s Day, and in the county where the royal family will celebrate the event.

This years concert was in Amersfoort. Max wore a Claes Iversen custom dress, and we don’t as of yet have any information on Beatrix’s or Laurentien’s outfits. But just drink in the bold color on those two ladies – quite a counterpoint to Max’s beige.

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I would like to bring your attention to two of the eye-popping accessories that made appearances with these outfits. Behold the heels of Maxima, and the jewelry of Laurentien. The Belt of Doom could fall into the eye-popping category, too, if I were deigning to even notice it ; ).

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What do you think? A good lead-up to the King’s Day events, or a bit too much accessorizing for your blood?


Random Royaling – Double Dutch

Princess Beatrix recently attended an exhibit  of the works of the late artist Ad Dekkers. I simply love this ensemble, head to toe. The deep burgundy/purple adds some gravitas, and the pattern and bows add zing. To see a great back view of the signature Oma Hattery, check out New My Royals.

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Princess Laurentien and Prince Constantijn attended the  the prestigious “World Press Photo” prize. No information on Laurentien’s dress, or earrings, but I’ll fill in with “they are very Laurentien ; ).” Serously, though, she is always adds a bit of sartorial individuality to the scene, and for that I am grateful.

One of the joys of blogging has been finding out that some royals are out and about more than you think. If you want to catch up on another of Laurentien’s latest ensembles, check out ModekoninginMaxima, here. 

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Patrick van Emst/News Pictures

Corp Diplomatique Dinner-Part Two

UPDATED to add a few more photos!

Welcome to the glittery details section of last night’s Dutch party! Take a look at Part One to focus more on the clothing.

Our guest author today is our kind friend over at dutchroyaljewels.  Give them a follow over on Instagram and always have fabulous photos and detailed history of all the Dutch sparkles at your fingertips! Once again, thanks to Gert-Jan de Wit of (and on Twitter) for his generosity.

Your guest author awaits…please do give them a follow on Instagram and welcome them to our little space here on the internet!

Queen Maxima’s Antique Pearl Tiara is sometimes called the Pavlovnik pearl tiara, because Anna Pavlovna, the queen consort of Willem II of the Netherlands, once had a tiara quite a lot like it. This tiara, which was made in 1900, was designed to mimic the shape of the original Pavlovnik tiara. The pearls were mounted on a base with diamond garlands and fleur-de-lys. Note that the tiara can be worn without the pearls. The large, pear-shaped pearls that sit upright in the tiara (at least four) are even older than the piece itself (1646)– the biggest one is weighs over 41 carats! They belonged to Amalia van Solms, a seventeenth-century Dutch princess who shares her name with Máxima’s eldest daughter, Catharina-Amalia. Queen Wilhelmina was the first wearer of this tiara, and it has been worn by all Dutch queens since then. Queen Juliana inherited the piece from her mother in 1962. She placed the tiara in the family’s jewel foundation, ensuring that all future queens of the Netherlands will also be able to wear it.

The diamond and pearl devant de corsage belonged probably to the Russian Empress Maria Feodorovna, mother of Queen Anna Pavlovna of the Netherlands and grandmother of Queen Sophie (first wife of King Willem III). Sophie inherited this jewel from her mother Grand-Duchess Catharina Pavlovna. (Queen of Württemberg). The jewel consists of a diamond open work or lace work bow containing five cushion cut pink diamonds, from which are suspended a pearl and two tassels with pearls with in between a small diamond bow. Queens Wilhelmina, Juliana, Beatrix and Maxima all wore this stunning piece in different versions. The full version , the version without the pendant, but with the three drop pearls or with the three diamonds directly hanging from the bow and the version with the shortened pendant with the pear shaped pearls, which Max wore last night.

Princess Margriet wore her favorite and bridal tiara, the Pearl Button tiara. This tiara is made of five pearl and diamond buttons placed on a diamond base. The buttons are sometimes referred to as “floral” in design, and indeed, the diamond design surrounding each large pearl does resemble the petals of a flower. These button elements started out as brooches, worn in the nineteenth century by Queen Sophie, first wife of King Willem III. Some have argued wrongly that the festoon base of the tiara was originally part of a coronet also owned by Queen Sophie, but the tiara as we know it today was not worn in public until the middle of the twentieth century. In 1965, the five brooches and a newly created base were used to make a new tiara. It was first worn by Queen Juliana in the same year. Queen Beatrix choose this tiara for her inauguration. Queen Máxima has worn both the star and pearl versions of the tiara.

Oma is wearing her favorite tiara also…King Willem III of the Netherlands ordered this diamond tiara for his wife, Queen Emma, who had chosen it from a selection of designs presented by the Royal Kempen & Begeer. But recently the Dutch royal jewel specialist, Edwin Fellner discovered the real origins of this tiara in the archives of Kempen, Begeer & Vos. The original design was made by Jac. Vos & Co. This jeweler from Rotterdam also created the tiara in his role as subcontractor. By the time the tiara was ready in 1890, the King had passed away. But the tiara was indeed used by his wife, by their daughter Queen Wilhelmina, and now by Wilhelmina’s granddaughters and great-granddaughters-in-law. The tiara features three central clusters of diamonds, each featuring a large center stone surrounded by eight slightly smaller stones. Each cluster is surrounded by a scrolled diamond frame, and more diamond collets decorate the tiara between the central elements and along the frame. It was originally designed to be worn with or without up to five of the diamond stars Queen Emma received as wedding gifts on the very top.

Courtesy of dutchroyaljewels

What is your favorite piece of jewelry worn by the Dutch ladies to this event? Would you like to know more about any of these pieces? Do you think other items from the Dutch vault would have been a better choice? Tell us what you think!

UPDATE: Check out our friend’s article at ModekoninginMaxima.nl–a great site to follow!


Corp Diplomatique Dinner-Part One

An annual tradition in the Netherlands is the Diplomatic Corps Dinner and friends, let me tell you something.  We are so lucky to have photos DIRECT from the event itself!! In Part One, we’ll do a general overview and then Part Two will have much, much more information on the jewels themselves, provided by dutchroyaljewels.

With HUGE thanks to our own Kamerheer Triple-A, we have been given direct access to photos from two photographers present at the event:  Gert-Jan de Wit (and on Twitter)and Josée Zwaga.  The Handbag is so grateful to all three of you for your generosity and kind permissions to use your photos in our post.

On to the show! 

Here we have Princess Margriet wearing the Pearl Button Tiara.

Hot pink is a great choice for this lady.
Look at that sparkle–both the tiara and her eyes!

Now let’s give our attention to my lady, Princess Beatrix. For those who are new to this space, I have an almost pathological love for this lady, who is not my queen, but as just as beloved in my book. I often refer to her as Oma, so don’t be confused if you see that name.

Royal purple is a great color on the former queen, no?

I mean, just look at her! Swooning.

And on to the stars of the show, Willem-Alexander and Máxima:

Look at the sparkles FLY!

What do you think about the clothing choices made for this event? Would you change anything?

For more fun and discussion on the jewels, head on over to Part Two!