A royal suite of jewelry dating from the late 1800's. Turquoise used in jewelry was mined from fields in Turkey and considered the finest Turquoise available in the world. This is slightly different from the turquoise found in the southwest USA that has become very popular world-wide. The ‘Royal’ turquoise has more of a graining and less inclusions of flaked mica.
The French courts were the first to see the Turkish Turquoise on the necks of royalty, and high society. Very soon the British courts were being dazzled by this new a colorful decoration.
The first Monaco Princess to wear turquoise jewelry was surprisingly an American named Alice Heine. She met and married Prince Albert I of Monaco in 1889. Princess Alice was just 31 years old. She had become a widow at the age of 22, and had two children with her first husband. She was from New Orleans, Louisiana. Her father was from a banking family.
Marie Alice and Albert married on October 30, 1889. Along with her two younger children, Alice also brought an extensive collection of jewels and a massive (at the time) dowry of six million dollars. This suite of Turquoise jewelry was brought to Monaco for the first time.
The jewelry given to Grace by Prince Rainier III was separated into defined groups. All the jewelry owned by the ‘first’ American Princess of Monaco, was given to Grace at on time. A lot of the jewelry in the collection was given to Grace during the first week before the wedding, but this group was saved for the return from their honeymoon. While the honeymooners were still traveling back on the yacht, Rainier’s valet was given instructions to have all of Maire Alice’s jewelry spread out on their bed when they returned. Looking at all the jewelry layout our before her, the first piece she picked up to look at close was the turquoise necklace.