Crown­ing glory

How the fleur-de-lys came to sym­bol­ise roy­alty

EDP Norfolk - - Out Of Office - James Hawkins

WITH the win­ter dis­ap­pear­ing and spring on the hori­zon we in the jewellery trade turn our fo­cus to the wed­ding sea­son and new col­lec­tions from the global trade fairs.

Hav­ing pur­chased an old, bro­ken Ed­war­dian tiara set from our trade con­nec­tions in Birm­ing­ham’s Jewellery Quar­ter, a lead­ing jewellery ex­pert re­stored it, painstak­ingly colour match­ing all the new di­a­monds as well as re­cast­ing and mak­ing the head piece, pen­dant and ear­rings. The re­sults are our fab­u­lous Eleanor range.

The orig­i­nal style was an Ed­war­dian tiara set with un­du­lat­ing fleur-de-lys cast in 18ct white gold all in­di­vid­u­ally di­a­mond set on a plain bev­elled 18ct white gold head band.

The fleur-de-lys de­sign it­self is a clas­sic from the pe­riod and sym­bol­ises the heraldic an­ces­try of many of the rul­ing classes. Syn­ony­mous with the French rul­ing gen­try it is par­tic­u­larly as­so­ci­ated with the French monar­chy; in the his­tor­i­cal con­text the three petals rep­re­sent the me­dieval so­cial classes: those who worked, those who fought, and those who prayed.

The fleur-de-lys’ sym­bolic ori­gins with French mon­archs may stem from the bap­tismal lily used in the crown­ing of King Clo­vis I, king of the Franks and con­sid­ered the found­ing fa­ther of the Merovin­gian dy­nasty, which would con­tinue for over

“The fleur-de-lys stood as a sym­bol of the king’s di­vinely ap­proved right to rule”

200 years. Clo­vis be­came king at the age of 15, and by the time of his death 30 years later, he had be­come the first king to rule over all the Frank­ish tribes. A Chris­tian king, Clo­vis’s poli­cies and mil­i­tary bril­liance, con­sol­i­dated the re­gions of Gaul un­der his rule and to­day he is con­sid­ered the founder of France.

The French monar­chy pos­si­bly adopted the fleur-de-lys for its royal coat of arms as a sym­bol of pu­rity to com­mem­o­rate the con­ver­sion of Clo­vis I and a re­minder of the fleur-de-lys holy am­pulla that held the oil used to anoint the king. So, the fleurde-lys stood as a sym­bol of the king’s di­vinely ap­proved right to rule. The thus anointed kings of France later main­tained that their au­thor­ity was di­rectly from God. A leg­end en­hances the mys­tique of roy­alty by in­form­ing us that a vial of oil – the Holy Am­pulla – de­scended from heaven to anoint and sanc­tify Clo­vis as king.

Eleanor of Aquitaine also wore a fleur-de-lys head piece known as di­a­dem while in court; this was to sym­bol­ise her po­si­tion as the queen con­sort for France un­til her death in 1204.

We have this won­der­fully re­stored tiara, pen­dant and ear­ring suite ready for the wed­ding sea­son. The suit of jewellery can make any­one the princess for a day. So, Miss Markle, you won’t be the only one with a tiara this sum­mer…

Tiaras are more as­so­ci­ated in to­day’s so­ci­ety with bridesto-be; how­ever this was not al­ways the case. The sym­bol­ism of the tiara once rep­re­sented that a lady was al­ready mar­ried or promised to an­other and there­fore un­avail­able.

Our Eleanor tiara is avail­able to buy or to rent for your spe­cial day. For more de­tails please con­tact James at Juels’ Lim­ited.

The fleur-de-lys and King Clo­vis I

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