Queen Sofia of Spain in the rubies given to her as a wedding present
Rubies with their hot, fiery colours suit the warm summer month of July down to the ground. The gems are usually bright red (although shades ranging from deep pink to burgundy are known) which means they are eye catching and much in demand. So it's no surprise to find that many royal houses in Europe own at least one set of these stunners and Spain is no different. But its ruby collection is very different from those in other regal collections and its striking design and flexibility makes the Spanish set a real stand out set. I'll admit, this is my favourite of all the ruby tiaras out there an dI'm hoping against hope (and every expectation) that we get to see it during the Spanish State Visit to the UK which gets underway on July 12th. Here are more Rubies for July.
This tiara began life, as many of them do, as a wedding gift but there was no Victorian input here. The rubies that sparkle in Spain were given to Sofia of Greece in 1962 when she married the then Prince Juan Carlos. They were presented to Sofia by the Greek shipping tycoon, Stavros Niarchos, and they've been known as the Niarchos Rubies ever since.
And with those modern origins, comes a modern design. There is something rather sixties about this stunning set of rubies put together by Van Cleef & Arpels and they are all the better for that. The rubies are big - that's what you call a wedding present - and round and surrounded by smaller diamonds. The bright white of those stones bring out the deep red in these rubies. There is no mistaking which stone stars in this collection.
It's also not a traditional royal parure. The collection is made up of several chains of those ruby and diamond clusters with the red settings interspersed with much smaller diamond studded links. The chains can be worn as a bandeau style tiara or as a tiered necklace or as a combination of the two. When Sofia was given these gems her new husband wasn't even sure he would end up as King of Spain but the sparklers are fit for a queen and one who is going to set new trends and bring a new image to royalty. All perfect for the woman who became Queen Sofia of Spain and an apt description of Queen Letizia, too. Whether Spain's current consort ever wears them remains to be seen - everything crossed for Wednesday.