The Crown Jewels: The Brilliants

I’m not really sure what a brilliant is. A jewel even sparklier than a diamond? Even more precious? The name suggests it, anyway.

A kind reader left a comment to this post informing me that a brilliant is a different cut or shape of a diamond to optimise the sparkling. Thanks, Ida!

This is the third piece in my series on the Danish crown jewels. This piece was altered by queens Sophie Magdalene, Juliane Marie and Caroline Amalie.

The full set

Juliane Marie gained a reputation of being properly horrible, which is probably a bit unfair. Juliane Marie was brought to Denmark from Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel after the death of Louise of Great Britain, the first wife of Frederick V. Still quite young she had four young children thrust into her care, Frederick, Sophie Magdalene (not the queen, but named after her), Vilhelmine Caroline and Louise. Frederick, who became king at the age of 17, suffered from scizophrenia and paranoia which was strongly exacerbated by his marriage to Caroline Mathilde, his cousin, and Juliane Marie constantly pushed at his abdication so her own son, also named Frederick, could take the throne.

When Caroline Mathilde’s affair with Struensee, her husband’s doctor, meant that Struensee was the de facto ruler of Denmark, Juliane Marie and her allies had Caroline Mathilde forcibly evicted from the country and Struensee beheaded. Her son never became the king, but until Frederick VI came of age, she and her son reigned the country.

Juliane Marie. She may not have the greatest reputation, but she makes up for that in gowns.

Advertisements

The Crown Jewels: The Diamonds

The full set,

I could be wrong, but these look like diamonds, right?

The reason for my confusion is that this piece is named “the rosestone set” by DDKKS (The Danish Kings Chronological Collection in English) but as far as I can tell they’re simply diamonds cut into a shape resembling roses.

The jewels that would later be made into this set originally belonged to Christian VI’s younger sister Charlotte Amalie, but weren’t made into this piece until 1840 by the request of Caroline Amalie, queen of Christian VIII.

Princess Charlotte Amalie decorated with the l'Union Parfaite. 1759.

There is another important set of jewellery which also belonged to Charlotte Amalie, namely the large “gown pieces.” They aren’t a part of the official crown jewels, but I have seen Queen Margrethe wear them at several galas, so I’m including them.

There are fourteen pieces.

The Crown Jewels: The Emeralds

The Danish crown jewels consist of four sets of jewels. Diadem, necklace, earrings. I’ll post them over the next couple of days, beginning today with the emerald set.

The history of the crown jewels begins with Queen Sophie Magdalene, wife of Christian VI. It was her decision that these jewels should always belong to the Danish Queen, and be inherited by no one person alone.

A close up of the tiara

“There are, in this royal house, so few jewels and even fewer crown jewels.”

As fashion changed, so did the queens who wore them change these jewels and their current shape was determined by Caroline Amalie, wife of Christian VIII. The pieces can be taken apart and combined in several different ways.

Traditionally, the jewels have never left Denmark, and the Queen leaves them at home when she goes on state visits abroad. Officially, they belong to the state and are made available to the queen at galas etc.

The Danish crown jewels are the only in the world that are made available for public viewing, usually at Rosenborg Castle, when the queen is not making use of them.

The full emerald set.

Sophie Magdalene of Brandeburg Kulmbach

Sophie Magdalene is also said to have refused to wear the queen’s crown as her husband’s father had crowned his noble mistress, Anna Sophie Reventlow, with it. She did not wish that a crown that had been “sullied” by a noblewoman should touch her royal head and had it melted down and reshaped. More on the crown regalia will follow later.

Sophie Magdalene

Sophie Magdalene and her husband, Christian VI, were devout pietists and banned music, dancing, the theatre and made it punishable to not attend church on sundays. When their son came to the throne, he promptly overturned all of these laws.