Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Kodak Agfa Presents : Some of Princess Fawzia’s Jewelry at Alexandria’s Royal Jewelry Museum in photos

On 5 November From 100 years ago, a baby girl was born in Alexandria, Egypt.

She was born as a true real living princess, her father was a king of one of the greatest and oldest kingdoms in the East. Like in a fairy tale, She was a stunning beauty.

After her father’s death, her eldest brother became the king.

Soon she also married a crown prince of another great Eastern kingdom. In a couple of years, that crown prince became his country’s King or rather Shah and she became the queen.

You would think that she would live happily ever after just like in Disney’s films for princesses yet the reality is different from fiction and late Princess Fawzia Fouad of Egypt knew that first hand.

Princess Fawzia's Diamond hairpin at Royal Jewelry Museum
A hairpin made of diamonds with the name of Princess Fawzia in Arabic 

Now on this occasion, I would like to share this collection of jewelry that was owned by the former Queen of Iran at Alexandria’s Royal Jewelry Museum.

Late Princess Fawzia in late 1940s
Late Princess Fawzia in the late 1940s 

Yup, there is a jewelry collection of Egypt’s legendary sad beauty Princess Fawzia Fouad at this often forgotten less-known yet wealthy museum.

Princess Fawzia's diamond watch at Alexandria Royal Jewelry Museum
Princess Fawzia's diamonds watch 

This is part of what remains from Princess Fawzia’s jewelry as some of the original collection was sold in the infamous 1954 auctions and some were lost deliberately.

Last year I found old British Pathe videos for one of those auctions held by the Free Officers movement to sell Mohamed Ali Royal Family’s possessions including priceless pieces of art in the most provoking and foolish way ever in 1954.

I was surprised to find that many of the jewelry pieces exhibited in the Royal Jewelry Museum went under the hammer but for reason and luckily for us that they were not sold.

Among those pieces, that collection of bracelets owned by late Princess Fawzia who seemed to be fond of turquoise and gold.

Turquoise bracelet at Royal Jewelry Museum of Egypt
A gold bracelet encrusted with turquoise

I mean she got different models and sometimes the same model.

Turquoise bracelet at Royal Jewelry Museum of Egypt
Two gold bracelets encrusted with turquoise

There is another famous third golden bracelet encrusted by turquois but I did not take its photo, I do not remember if it was rather or released to the public following 2017.

I found out that bracelet was designed and first appeared in 1946 by French Van Cleef & Arpels.

Van Cleef & Arpels was among the top French Jewelry houses preferred by the Egyptian Mohamed Ali Royal Family.

Princess Fawzia was truly an Egyptian princess keeping the ancient Egyptian royal tradition of wearing turquois alive for real.

I did not focus on this beautiful bracelet but it turned out to be designed by French Boucheron Jewelry House.

A Pearl necklace at Royal Jewelry Museum of Egypt
The Boucheron bracelet is on the left 

 That bracelet was modified to be include turquoise I believe on-demand, Fawzia as an Egyptian woman loved turquoise. 

I was focusing on this beautiful necklace made of gold, pearls and gemstones. When You zoom on this necklace, you will find some pearls missing, unfortunately.

This is the not only thing made by Boucheron in Princess Fawzia’s collection or in the museum.

There are two Boucheron brooches made of gold in the shape of a flower with diamonds and ruby in the middle.

Golden earnings at Egypt's Royal Jewelry Museum
The Boucheron brooches encrusted with diamonds and ruby 

Boucheron designed and released the brooch in 1950.

There are other two golden bracelets showing that our princess loved bracelets for real.

Princess Fawzia's golden bracelets at Alexandria Royal Jewelry Museum
Two golden bracelets at Alexandria's Royal Jewelry Museum 

These bracelets are part of a golden ensemble including earnings and a brooch. 

Golden Bracelets and necklaces at Egypt's Royal Jewelry Museum
Golden earring and bracelet with its charm

There is another golden bracelet with a heart and its key charm.

The golden bracelets photobomb the photo of those bonbonnieres made of gold representing both Egyptian royal court and Iranian imperial court to celebrate Princess Fawzia’s marriage from Crown Prince of Iran then Mohamed Reza Pahlavi in  1939.

Egyptian Royal and Iranian Imperial round golden boxes at Royal Jewelry Museum
The Royal bonbonnieres presented at the Royal wedding of the East in 1939

You can see the royal crowns of both Egypt and Iran then as well as the initials of the Royal couples.

They were represented as wedding gifts by the Egyptian Royal palace.

On the Iranian crown bonbonnieres, we got in an Art Deco style the initials of Fawzia and Mohamed Reza in English

Royal golden box
The Egyptian crown golden bonbonniere 

Their names are engraved in Arabic in Ghozlani font “according to news reports on the wedding gifts then” or as known Diwani font on the Egyptian gold bonbonniere in that font used by the Egyptian Royal palace.

There were silver bonbonnieres as well distributed in the wedding ceremonies and parties.

According to news reports published then, there were 12 special Iranian Crown bonbonnieres made of gold encrusted with diamonds given to the newly wedded couple, King Farouk, Queen Farida, Queen Mother Nazly, Farouk’s remaining three sisters and Shah of Iran as well as his wife.

A piece clipping from an Egyptian 
magazine in 1939 on the bonbonnieres

Now I got one question when I read this report, what happened to those diamond-encrusted gold bonbonnieres in Egypt? Were they sold? Were their diamonds taken ??

The wedding ceremonies whether in Cairo or Tehran were jewelry festivals that did not reflect by all measures the economic and social status of the majority of Egyptian and Iranian people whether then or even now, unfortunately.

It was more competition on which Royal family would impress the other: The old Royal family of Egypt or the new Royal family of Persia which recycled the Jewelry of Iran’s old Royal family. “Old Reda Khan Pahlavi turned against them”

It is known that the Shah of Iran gifted his daughter-in-law Fawzia three necklaces of pearls and the pearls necklaces were the favourite day to day accessory in Fawzia’s outfit whether in Iran or Cairo or even after 1952.

Princess Fawzia at a charity event in Kasr Al-Koubeh, Cairo in June 1947 while wearing a pearls necklace
Princess Fawzia at a charity event in Kasr Al-Koubeh, Cairo
in June 1947 while wearing a pearls necklace

On the day she returned back to Alexandria from Tehran and never returned back in 1945 she was wearing a pearls necklace. 

Fawzia upon her return to Alexandria along King Farouk
Fawzia upon her return to Alexandria along with King Farouk 

It was a staple thing for her even though she was extremely depressed with dark circles around her eyes and a very alarming thin body.

Thin and weak Fawzia supported by her  brother while wearing the pearls
Thin and weak Fawzia supported by her 
brother while wearing the pearls 

I do not recall seeing pearls necklace in that collection I have seen in May 2017 and I have not read if those necklaces were sold in the auction.

During that Royal wedding, the pearls necklaces were the least interesting pieces Princess Fawzia wore or even gifts she got from her Persian in-laws. There were other magnificent pieces that cannot be forgotten, among those pieces a necklace that created controversy in the past three years in Egypt on social media.

A picture went viral of Mona Abdel Nasser from her son’s wedding in 2017 in Cairo while wearing a huge necklace made of ruby that many believed were a necklace that late Princess Fawzia owned and wore during the parties held on the sideline of her marriage from Mohamed Reda Pahlavi in Tehran in 1939.

17-years old Fawzia wearing the necklace in Tehran in 1939
17-years old Fawzia wearing
the necklace in Tehran in 1939
The proof was only a photo of Fawzia wearing the necklace in black and white and it looked like Abdel Nasser’s necklace, but it is not it. Already, Fawzia’s necklace was bigger and larger than Mona’s.

Fawzia wore a silver necklace encrusted with emerald and diamonds while Mona’s is a diamond necklace with ruby.

More importantly, the Iranian Imperial Palace owned the necklace, and its history went back to the Qajar dynasty

That is why the ex-Queen of Iran did not even bring the necklace to Cairo when she returned. That necklace was worn by both Soraya Esfandiari and Farah Diba, the shah’s second ex-wife and his last wife during different events in Iran.

Currently, this necklace that did not bring any happiness to the Shah’s women is on display as part of Iranian National Jewels at the Treasury of National Jewels in Tehran.

That necklace was not the only one to stay in Tehran according to what can be considered then a prenuptial agreement in that glitzy marriage.

There was another long diamond necklace that Fawzia wore at least twice according to photos in Tehran including at her second wedding in Tehran along with her legendary diamond parure. “Do not know who the stylist was but it was so wrong, so glitzy and a bit tacky to be hones”

Fawzia wearing the long diamonds  necklace in Tehran.
Fawzia wearing the long diamonds 
necklace in Tehran. 

When it comes to the famous diamond parure of the Nile’s sad beauty, it is a story that deserves a separate post. 

Fawzia's Cecil Beaton photo
Yes, that parure 

Wait for it.

Now back to the Royal Jewelry Museum.

What I saw in 2017 from her days in Iran was that personal care set from her days as the Queen of Iran encrusted with diamonds.

Empress Fawzia of Iran's personal care set at Royal Jewelry Museum
Former Queen Fawzia's personal care set

The Kohl vial was made of gold. 

There is a set of Jewelry I think that was acquired by Fawzia in Tehran because we did and do not have this style with those colours in Egypt.

An Indian style Golden earrings at Royal Jewelry Museum
The earring 

It is more of Indian style.

An Indian style Emerald bracelet at Royal Jewelry Museum
The bracelet encrusted with emerald 

The bracelet is encrusted with emerald.

I have not seen photos of late Fawzia wearing this beautiful colourful set that got several brooches. 

Another Indian style brooch at Royal Jewelry Museum
The brooch

That one is too, an amazing brooch. 

An Indian style golden brooch at Royal Jewelry Museum
One big unique brooch

I think this brooch made of gold encrusted by ruby and emerald is actually a hair brooch.

Golden Indian style brooch at Egypt's Royal Jewelry Museum
A  gold brooch encrusted with Emerald and pearls

Another Indian style gold brooch encrusted with Emerald and pearls

Speaking about brooches, the brooch was another staple accessory for Princess Fawzia who took over the role of Egypt’s first lady along with her sister Faiza upon her return especially after the divorce of King Farouk and Queen Farida. Queen Mother Nazly also seemed to be busy with her own life.  It is worth mentioning that while in Iran that she founded the Association for the Protection of Pregnant Women and Children (APPWC) in Iran.

Till July 1952, Princess Fawzia was active in charity work heading the Mabarra Mohamed Ali charity organization and inaugurating hospitals and exhibits across Egypt.

Her attrite, a classical formal open included a brooch whether it was winter or summer according to the photos and videos.

Here is a couple of brooches I found at the museum.

Diamond brooch at Royal Jewelry Museum of Egypt
A brooch encrusted with gemstone and diamonds

A beautiful brooch encrusted with diamonds and gemstones. 

I think she wore that brooch in that photo while visiting some exhibit in Cairo.

Topaz Golden Brooche at Royal Jewelry Museum
A gold topaz brooch 

A brooch made of gold encrusted with diamond and in the middle that big topaz.

From photos, I can say that she had favourite brooches which I did not see in the museum when I went in 2017

Yet in 2018, I read that the museum unveiled that new brooches in Princess Fawzia’s collection.

Now among most of those foreign-made jewelry, I am amazed at this thing made which I can’t identify. 

Golden artifact at Royal Jewelry Museum of Egypt
What is that thing? 

This thing had a mini-Egypt inscribed on it if you focus on it. You got an Egyptian man, the Nile, the Pyramids, a man on a bicycle carrying bread, Fawzia’s grandfather Ibrahim Pasha statue and a camel engraved on this circular thing made of gold.

Now I wonder who made this beautiful piece? Was it commissioned by the Princess or was gifted to her?

I know that there is a new collection of jewelry related to Princess Fawzia currently on display at the new Royal Carts Museum in Cairo.

I want to visit the museum already and check it.

Photos from Alexandria’s Royal Jewelry Museum Taken by Sony Nex 5 with Emount 18-55

Thanks to The storyteller and Royal Story Facebook as well as late Journalist Gamil Aref for the leads.


  1. The Indian style bell shaped earrings are called Jhumka and the enamel work on them is called Meenakari. Meenakari actually originated in Persia and was brought to India by the Mughals.
    Both the Princess and her jewellery were/are beyond beautiful. Thank you for the post.

    1. Thank you so much for the additional information , the meenakarai collection is so beautiful


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