Thursday, 26 March 2015

The Coronation of the Sultan of Johor: Jewels in Focus

Some of you have been asking about any further details of the jewels worn by the guests at the coronation, so I thought I should do a quick recap. 

I have already covered the State Crown, State Diadem, and the Johor Consort Diamond Tiara, Necklace, Chain and Sapphire Bracelet set. But let's just have one last look at that necklace in detail:

The necklace in detail. Source: Johor Post

In addition to the sapphire and diamond bracelets, Raja Zarith Sofiah wore two matching sapphire and diamond rings and earrings, for the evening banquet she also wore a matching sapphire and diamond necklace. 

In Malaysia, it is not just only the Royal ladies who are bejeweled. The Sultan has an impressive diamond aigrette attached to his songkok. I have seen it described as a pepper and gambier motif, which are important symbol in Johor. Noting the similarity between the necklace above and the matching tiara, perhaps that whole set should be renamed as the Johor Consort Pepper and Gambier Parure?  Or perhaps not... 

The Sultan in his finery. Source: Istana Johor

Sultan Abu Bakar wore similar (if not the same) for his coronation in 1886.

Sultan Abu Bakar of Johor. 

Not to stop just there, the Sultan is also adorned with diamond buttons, epaulettes and collars, as well as his Royal Orders. That's a lot of bling already.

Detail on the collar and epaulette. Source: Istana Johor

Che' Puan Khaleeda, wore an interesting double row pearl tiara with matching necklace and earrings for the coronation ceremony:

Che' Pual Khaleeda and Raja Zarith Sofiah. Source: Istana Johor

This is tiara and necklace set has been worn before by Raja Zarith Sofia, so I suspect it is either a loan or a gift to Che' Puan Khaleeda:




Interestingly, the pearl necklace and earrings has also been worn by Raja Zarith Sofiah's late mother, the former Raja Perempuan (Queen) Raja Muzwin of Perak. Perak being another of the Malay Royal States.  Raja Zarith Sofiah is herself, therefore, a Royal Princess of Perak, her father being the late Sultan Idris Iskandar Shah (r. 1963-1984). 

Raja Zarith Sofiah and her late mother, Raja Muzwin. 

There is a lot of sharing going on in this family. Notice the tiara Raja Muzwin is wearing? It has been worn as well by Raja Zarith Sofiah, and in October 2014 was worn by Che' Puan Khaleeda for her wedding.

Che' Puan Khaleeda at her wedding. 
Raja Zarith Sofiah.

I call it the Johor Palm Tree Tiara, because that's what I think it resembles, but maybe that's just me.  Che' Puan Khaleeda also wore a nice emerald set to the Royal banquet in the evening, again, this is one which has been worn previously by Raja Zarith Sofiah.


The other Malay Royals in tiaras were the Sultanah of Terengganu and the Sultanah of Pahang. 

The Sultanah of Terengganu wore her standard tiara, the Gendik Permaisuri Terengganu (Tiara of the Queen of Terengganu). Made in London of white gold encrusted with diamonds, it features the royal standard of the Sultan of Terengganu as its central point. 

The Sultanah and Sultan of Terengganu in all their finery - aren't they a cute couple?

Many of the official Malay tiaras feature these royal or state emblems as their defining feature. This can make some of them look rather clunky, however Sultanah Nur Zahirah always manages to make it look elegant. The Royal standard itself is based on the Terengganu coat of arms, which features a sword and long kris, two books (one the Qur'an, the other the book of Law), two ceremonial maces, and scarf. Surrounded by a wreath of rice stalks, and topped by the Royal Crown. Terengganu, like Johor, has its own crown. 

The Royal Standard of Terengganu. Source: Wikipedia

The tiara was first commissioned by the late Sultan Mahmud Al-Muktafi Billah Shah (r. 1979-1998) for his installation, and was first worn by his consort, the late Tengku Ampuan Bariah.

Sultan Mahmud Al-Muktafi Billah Shah and his consort Tengku Ampuan Bariah 

Four stars and crescent moons, two each side, complete the design, these being significant for both Islam, the State religion, and appearing on the State flag.  

The Gendik Permaisuri Terengganu.

As with the Sultan of Johor, the Sultan of Terengganu is similarly bejeweled. He wears the Tanjak diRaja or Royal Headdress. Folded in the style known as belali gajah (elephant's trunk) it is worn on special occasions. How you fold your headdress in Malaysia can say a lot about you! The Mahkota Bertanjak is a diadem worn with the Tanjak diRaja. Made of platinum, it is encrusted with diamonds. Its centerpiece, like the tiara, comprises the Royal Standard, enclosed within a ray-like design. Circling the base are six smaller crests. It too was specifically designed for the installation of Sultan Mahmud Al-Muktafi Billah Shah in 1981.

The State Flag of Terengganu. Source: Wikipedia

Sultanah Kalsom, the Sultanah of Pahang, wore a diamond tiara which is one of her regular tiaras for important occasions and which she has worn many times.

Sultan Ahmad Shah and Sultanah Kalsom of Pahang

She also wore one of her emerald and gold necklaces. Some close ups from previous wearings of this tiara provide a good view of it:

The tiara in detail. 
The tiara in detail. 
The tiara in detail. 

Sultanah Kalsom has a number of different tiaras, so I would be interested to see if she switched this one out for one of the others from her collection for the banquet in the evening.

The Sultanah of Brunei also wore one of her regular go-to tiaras which should be well known to Brunei royal tiara watchers.

Finally, there is still that mystery tiara, on the mystery guest, possibly, it is rubies, certainly, it is a mystery:

Is that you Tunku Aminah?

If any further details emerge I shall update this post here.

UPDATE: 30 March 2015

Thanks to reader Zaza for pointing out that Malaysian fashionista Kee Hua Chee has posted some photos of the banquet on his blog. The photos do reveal the mystery tiara wearer is indeed none other than Tunku Aminah, and also provide photos of the Royals of Terengganu and Pahang at the event. 

Sultanah Nur Zahirah and Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin of Terengganu with Sultanah Kalsom of Pahang Source: Kee Hua Chee

Tunku Aminah greeting Sultanah Kalsom Source: Kee Hua Chee

Update: April 1 2015

The Brunei Government has released some further photos, showing the Sultanah of Brunei in her emerald tiara and jewels, and the Raja Permaisuri Agong (Queen) of Malaysia, Sultanah Haminah,  in the Gendik Diraja tiara. 

The Sultanah of Brunei and Permaisuri Johor. Source: Brunei Government

The Yang di-Pertuan Agong (right) and the Raja Permaisuri Agong (middle, in red) with the other royals.

Source: Johor Palace, Government of Brunei, all rights reserved. 


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