Crown Jewels


Royalty in all shapes and forms

THE CASTLE OF TREASURE

Alexander was a lawyer at a Swiss bank in Geneva. He was immensely bored of it, as we well understand. One day, he dropped everything and took his family away to a new life. With his initiation, they purchased a large castle in the south of France, in Ariège, in the middle of a little-known…

THE TZAR’S TREASURE

At the beginning of 1917, Emperor Nicholas II, Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, and their five children found themselves left with a handful of loyal servants who refused to abandon them when they were imprisoned in their home at Alexander Palace. Then, in July of that year, the interim government decided to send the Russian Imperial Family…

THE SHAH’S TREASURE

Back in the days of the Shah, every time went to Iran, I rushed over to the Melli Bank because I loved looking at the crown jewels on display there in a basement room. I would begin with the Throne of the Peacocks, which was not in fact the dismantled original, but instead a facsimile:…

Orlow_Diamond-Diamant_ imperial sceptre_Orlov-diamond_Russia_Michael_of_Greece_Chronicles

THE ORLOV DIAMOND

Grigory Orlov was a dashing officer from a Russian aristocratic family. The Grand Duchess Catherine Alexeievna fell in love with him. Both mistrusted and beloved by the reigning Empress Elizabeth, neglected by her husband the Grand Duke Peter heir to the throne, isolated in a Court where she knew few people, she was in a…

THE CROWN JEWELS OF FRANCE

Their story is interesting in that they do not exist. Certain ceremonial objects from the Coronations of the kings of France have survived: Charlemagne’s sword; Charles V’s Sceptre; the Main de Justice (hand of justice). All of these, kept at the Louvre, were used during the countless coronations of France’s kings, right up until the…

palais royal madrid

THE JEWELS OF THE SPANISH CROWN

In the month of July 1808, panic reigned in Madrid. A French army of 100,000 men was marching towards the city, determined to prevail. For a year coups d’état, revolts and repression had wracked the city. Napoleon, after having dethroned the Bourbon dynasty, was determined to put one of his brothers on the throne of…

diamant Maximilien

THE MAXIMILIAN EMPEROR AND THE CURSED DIAMONDS

As usual, I was spending this Saturday morning in New York, going round auction halls. On Christie’s Park Avenue, one can find magnificent jewellery on display. My friend François, one of the world’s greatest experts in the field, invited me to follow him into his office. He knew that I was an enthusiast and handed…

THE BIGGEST SAPPHIRE IN THE WORLD

It is one of the biggest cut sapphires in the world, weighing over 300 carats. It was bought at the end of the19th century by the Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna of Russia, a passionate jewelry collector. It was passed on to her daughter-in-law, the Grand Duchess Cyril. After the 1917 Revolution, needing money, she sold…

La Reine Victoria Eugénie

AUNT ENA’S EMERALDS

During the days of the Second Empire, Queen Victoria visited France and became friends with Napoleon III, and particularly with his wife, the Empress Eugenie. Although they came from very different backgrounds, cultures and traditions, the two sovereigns formed a close friendship. After the fall of the Second Empire, and the disastrous Franco-Prussian war of…

The Ruby of the Black Prince

It was during the time when Spain was still partially Muslim, when Arab sovereigns still ruled certain provinces, despite the Christian Reconquista which had begun centuries earlier. King Peter the Cruel, or the Just, was staying in Seville when he learned that an Arab emirs, one of his own allies, was in possession of the largest,…