How the fleur-de-lys came to symbolise royalty
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