Worn by the Queen for her marriage to King Zog on 27 April 1938
Geraldine, Queen of Albania, was born in Budapest on August 6th, 1915, into Hungarian aristocracy. Her father was Count Guyla Apponyi de Nagy-Appony and her mother, Gladys Virginia Stewart, was from an old family in Virginia. By the age of 20, however, her family's fortune had been so depleted that she was forced to sell postcards in the Budapest National Museum. Despite their financial difficulties, she was still required to attend formal events, where she was a favorite of photographers, who loved to capture images of the renowned beauty. King Zog I, Albania's first monarch, fell in love with Geraldine upon seeing one of these pictures and he proposed on New Year's Day 1938, ten days after their introduction. After their marriage, Geraldine was the first and only member of European royalty to have American blood. In April 1939, just three days after giving birth to their son, Leka, they were forced to flee the country when Italy invaded, taking refuge in Greece. After years in exile, King Zog I died in Paris in 1961 but in 2002, at the invitation of the Parliament, Queen Geraldine and Leka returned to Albania. She died in Tirana, Albania's capital, on October 22nd, 2002.
In 1938, King Zog purchased the magnificent Art Deco diamond bracelet and the double-clip brooch as gifts for his Queen, from Ostier, official jewelers to the Albanian royal court. Queen Geraldine wore the brooch on their wedding day, April 27th, 1938. Each jewel epitomizes the design of the late Art Deco period, with its bold, all-white style. In 1960, Ostier was commissioned by the King and Queen to sell these pieces, along with others from her personal collection, to aid Albanian refugees fleeing from their homeland. They have remained in a private collection until this time.