Bonjour Royal Friends!
Welcome to my tongue-in-chic life, style & happiness blog from a funny princess point of view!
I’m delighted to share the newest installment of my Series: Enchanting Discoveries…People Places Things that highlight fabulous treasures I encounter in my travels.
Today’s enchanting discovery highlights the brilliant, multi-talented and yes, enchanting Prince Dimitri of Yugoslavia, whom I had the honor and pleasure to meet at a recent event in New York City.
The prince’s story is a real time fairy tale of majesty in the mists; he’s related to history book royals like Charlemagne, Catherine the Great, and Louis XIV. He’s also a world-renowned jewelry designer. His new book, “Once Upon A Diamond” with a forward by Carolina Herrera illuminates this fascinating heritage and staggering swath of cross-continental history using a unique and fascinating perspective to tell the tale: the magnificent jewels his ancestors owned and wore. It’s quite an amazing voyage to read about the lives of these royals and how they handled the waves of turmoil and change. Of course some of them didn’t. Prince Dimitri’s unique heritage enables him, in many instances, to give us a birds-eye view and insider’s “scoop” on their thoughts and feelings, some passed down and some gained first-hand. Reading the book, one feels like a fly on the palace walls. A very privileged fly.
Once Upon A Diamond showcases spectacular jewels (like Marie Antoinette’s earrings!) plus portraits and photos of kings and queens, princes and princesses, dukes and duchesses wearing their signature crowns, tiaras, brooches and necklaces. These opulent jewels hold their own secrets (like the meaning behind Queen Margherita’s ropes and ropes…and ropes of pearls) as well as bearing witness to vibrant stories, lives and loves, triumphs and travails of the people who wore them. The book also includes incredible family collections of photos, faded with time, many notated with beautifully scripted sentiments dripped out of an old fashioned inkwell. Some of the photos are sweetly intimate–candid shots of royals as they go about their days. This is not your mother’s scrap book.
I was touched by how Prince Dimitri speaks with passion and ardor about these magnificent heirlooms, works of art really, crafted by some of the most celebrated jewelry houses of their times. These are his family’s and extended family’s jewels…sapphires, rubies, emeralds, diamonds, pearls, and tiaras, handed down through centuries by royal relations. One senses that the prince sees these shining stones as more than priceless historical objects. Perhaps to him they are like a golden, soulful thread, a tactile connection to his ancestors’ hearts that weaves together their tapestry of lives.
Along with jewels of the majestic past, the book also includes many dazzling photos of Prince Dimitri’s own collection of jewelry that he designs. These works of art are princess-worthy to the hilt! Many of the pieces are gorgeous iterations on an old world aesthetic, some are an homage to nature, while others have a wink of whimsy. Some are bold and others delicate. All are uniquely beautiful and glamorous. Perusing the book’s catalogue I had a flashback of a childhood story, as told by my mother. Apparently my first words were not a word, but a full sentence; “I want dat.” Now I get it.
It’s worth taking a detour to Prince Dimitri’s website to feast your eyes and to gather ideas for stunning, impressive holiday gifts, especially since not all of them cost a king’s ransom.
I have a copy of Once Upon a Diamond, which the prince gracously signed for me. It won its way to the top of a collection of French home design books displayed on my Chinese lacquer coffee table. It’s displayed as a tome of elegance and extravagance that supports my princess aesthetic…provided you don’t notice the wispy tufts of dog hair gracing the rug underneath. What? And corgis don’t shed?
Btw, here’s some royal inside scoop of my own. Prince Dimitri truly is, well…. princely. You see, my French friend Fanny who instructed me in ways of etiquette taught me, “Ma chere Didi, when you walk into a room don’t merely walk into it. Make an entrance.” Prince Dimitri doesn’t merely make an entrance into a room; he owns it.
You can read more about Prince Dimitri and his new book in a recent New York Times article entitled, “A Prince Who is ‘Fascinated by Gems.'”
You can grab a copy of Prince Dimitri’s book, “Once Upon A Diamond” here.
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Bisous & Tra la la!
Bonjour! I’m Princess Diane Von Brainisfried™
Motivational Speaker. Certified Life Coach. Award-Winning Writer. Breast Cancer Survivor. Offering seminars and coaching using humor to inspire happiness.
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