How we Created Queen Juliana’s Diamond Watch

The Netherlands has a long history of kings and queens. As Royal Coster Diamonds, we’ve always had a warm bond with Royals from all over the world. Based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, the connection between Royal Coster and the Dutch Royal House is one we treasure deeply. So when our late Queen Juliana celebrated her 50th birthday, we knew we wanted to do something special.

Queen Juliana was the queen of the people. Before the Second World War, she was a shy girl who leaned on her mother and husband. However, when the Germans invaded the Netherlands in 1940, Juliana had to flee to London and later Canada with her children. When she returned after the war, Juliana had become an independent woman: an experienced mother, a brave woman who dared to stand on her own feet. A woman who stepped out of her mother’s shadow. When she became Queen of the Netherlands in 1948, she kept her down-to-earth mentality. For instance: she preferred it when people addressed her as ma’am, or misses, instead of Her Majesty. Juliana’s looser style reduced the distance between the royal family and the people. Partly because of this, she remained very popular until the end of her days.

Inauguration Queen Juliana of the NetherlandsThe inauguration of Queen Juliana of the Netherlands. Juliana thinks that the ceremony should be sober on 6 September 1948. Her husband, Prince Bernhard thinks that the Dutch need a fairy tale after the misery of the Second World War. He calls for a festive ceremony. That is how it happens. Picture: RVD

An extraordinary birthday gift

In 1959, Queen Juliana celebrated her 50th birthday. Modest as she always was, the queen insisted she would not be spoiled with a great gift. For once though, the queen’s orders were not obeyed. The people of The Netherlands collected money for a joint gift: a stunning diamond bracelet watch. The watch was designed by P. F. Belkum from Steltman Jewellers. Jaeger-LeCoultre, one of the Swiss top luxury brands, made the clock. The watch has a platinum base.

Royal Coster Diamonds was commissioned to polish the diamonds for the watch. This honorable task was given to the young, but very talented diamond polisher Ben Meier. He polished the sensational number of 275 small diamonds to be incorporated in Queen Juliana’s diamond watch. If you see the result you realize that it must have been one of the finest displays of jewelry craftsmanship in history. Only three years after polishing the diamonds of this watch, the young diamond polisher Ben Meier became the owner of Royal Coster Diamonds. His vision and mission would create a new future for the diamond polishing factory.

triptych diamond watch from Royal Coster and SteltmanBen Meier in 1959 polishing diamonds. He polished the diamonds in Queen Juliana’s diamond watch. Ben joined the diamond world at an early age and specialized in baguette cuts.

Where is the diamond watch now?

Even though she didn’t want to be spoiled with a special gift, Queen Juliana absolutely loved her new diamond bracelet watch. She wore it therefore frequently. However, when her oldest daughter Beatrix became queen in 1980, the diamond watch was not seen for quite some time. It was believed that Queen Beatrix followed the strict etiquette: it wasn’t appropriate to wear a watch at a royal occasion. Luckily for its admirers, Queen Maxima – the wife of our current king, Willem Alexander – reintroduced the watch in2006. Since then she wears it regularly on different occasions. To this day, it still makes us a little proud, every time we see those diamonds sparkle on her wrist!

Queen Maxima wears the diamond watch quite oftenQueen Maxima wears the diamond watch on a regular basis

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