Princess Olga Paley’s Cartier Aquamarine Parure
In 1902, the Grand Duke Pavel Alexandrovich caused a great scandal within the House of Romanov by marrying his long-time mistress, Olga Pistohlkors, with whom he had three children. Olga was eventually accepted by the Tsar and Tsarina and made Princess Paley, allowing her a place within the Russian Imperial Court- (though she for some time remained an outsider). Nevertheless, Olga had a brilliant jewel collection. This aquamarine parure was its crowning glory.
Consisting of a tiara, necklace and corsage brooch, the parure’s singular feature was its glorious aquamarines. Cartier created it in 1912 and used only the finest rose-cut diamonds and jewels. The tiara, set in the aigrette style holds a large stone in the middle of the circular diamond set, with another atop it like a beacon. The necklace and brooch accompany the tiara perfectly, suspending aquamarines from a glistening diamond chain.
These pieces miraculously survived the Revolution with their owner, but were later sold to provide for Olga and her two surviving children. The three pieces sold at Sotherby’s in 2011 for a combined $1.7million!! [x]
Maria Feodorovna’s Cartier Pearl Wave Tiara & Necklace
Of Empress Maria Feodorovna’s massive jewel collection, this is one of my favourites. Very commonly misidentified as a convertible tiara, this piece is in fact two separate pieces, including a matching brooch. The ‘wave’ pattern of the tiara compliments the ‘bow’ figures on the necklace, with 19 of the purest pearls used in each piece.
There is scant information available on this piece as it too was among the Bolshevik horde later sold off and/or dismantled.
Alexandra Feodorovna’s Aquamarine & Diamond Tiara (Parure)
The last Empress of Russia had a fabulous jewel collection, though she was not known for her frivolity. Many of Alexandra’s personal tiaras and parures were kept in her own Mauve Room, under her own lock and key where she would retrieve them only for very special occasions. This beautiful diamond and aquamarine kokoshnik belonged to the Tsarina personally.
It was created around 1900, and completing the parure are matching earrings and a ‘drop’ style necklace that hung low on the chest. Alix sometimes wore the famous aquamarine brooch that Nicholas gave to her on their engagement in 1894, as it matched the set perfectly. The tiara was bought from the Bolsheviks by a private collector in 1920, but has since been lost.
The Kochli Sapphire Tiara (Parure)
This unique tiara belonged to Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, created in 1894 by the jeweller Kochli, an official court jewellery maker. Called upon by Alexander III and his wife Marie Feodorovna, Kochli created the sapphire and diamond parure for the Tsar’s future daughter in law, the then Alix of Hesse.
The tiara is made of 16 sapphires in a diamond surround; the piece is centered around the five largest oval sapphires, each of which is topped by diamonds. Underneath, a structure of swirling diamond scrolls knot together, studded with additional sapphires. The design theme continues throughout the rest of the parure, which included a brooch, necklace, and bracelet.
It remained in the collection of Alexandra Feodorovna through her years as tsarina, but like the rest of her jewels, it ended up in the hands of the Bolsheviks, and was featured in the Bolshevik’s catalogue of 1925. It, like many others, has since been lost. [x]
British Royal Jewels - Queen Victoria’s Emerald and Diamond Tiara
Designed by Prince Albert (Queen Victoria’s husband) in the Gothic Revival style. It was made of emeralds and diamonds set in gold by Joseph Kitching in 1845 at cost of £1,150.
Empress Alexandra Feodorovna’s Drop Pearl Kokoshnik
Perhaps the most famous of the lost Romanov tiaras is Alexandra Feodorovna’s beloved Drop Pearl Kokoshnik. Said to date from the time of Catherine II, the extravagant tiara consisted of 340 brilliants, weighing some 300 carats, and around 20 of the purest pears in a hanging and mounted fashion. As part of the Imperial Jewel Collection, the tiara was worn only at very important events; Alexandra famously wore it to the Duma Opening in 1906.
Sadly, it was left in Russia and shares it fate with many other tiaras; lost or sold by the Bolsheviks. It appears in the 1925 photograph of Bolshevik thievery.
Royal Jewels of Monaco - The Ocean Tiara
Created in 2011 by Van Cleef & Arpels for Princess Charlene of Monaco.
ROYAL JEWELLERY || The Rosenborg Kokoshnik TiaraMade in the 1930’s by the Danish jeweller Dragsted, The Rosenborg Kokoshnik Tiara was acquired by Prince Viggo, Count of Rosenborg for his American-born wife, Princess Viggo. As the couple didn’t have any children, the tiara was inherited by Prince and Princess Viggo’s sister-in-law, Princess Margaretha, who in return passed it on to her daughter-in-law, Countess Ruth of Rosenborg. Following her death, it was put on an auction at Bukowskis where the estimated value was placed at more than $200.000 but it did not sell. It is modelled after the traditional Russian headdress, the kokoshnik (hence the name), and consists of garnets and diamonds.
♚ The Braganza Tiara
The Braganza Tiara, often called the Brazilian Tiara was made in France with diamonds from Brazil in 1829 for the new Empress of Brazil, Amelie. The name Braganza comes from the name of a duchy in Brazil, the Emperor was also known as the Duke of Braganza.
Amelie had this tiara reworked several times to suit her best ending up with the design we see now.
When Amelie passed away in 1873 her sister, Queen Josephine of Sweden inherited the tiara. The tiara has been apart of the Swedish Royal Jewel Collection ever since.
This tiara is one of the tiaras in the Swedish Jewel Vault that is only ever worn by the current Queen.
Since coming to Sweden the Braganza Tiara has only left Sweden twice; the first time it was worn by Queen Louise of Sweden who wore it to the coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth in 1936 in Great Britain.
The last time it was taken out of Sweden was when Queen Silvia of Sweden wore it in on a state visit in 2007. Silvia made this exception because Denmark is so close to Sweden, both geographically and family wise. She thought “Queen to Queen it would be nice to wear it [for Margrethe]" since Margrethe is also interested in the histories of the Swedish Royals Jewels. According to Silvia she will never taken it out of the country again.
Silvia has made a lot of use of this tiara as Queen, it holds a very special place in her heart because of her own Brazilian roots (her mother was Brazilian). Silvia famously wore this tiara for her first official portrait as Queen of Sweden in 1976 (shown above).
Silvia states that this tiara is reserved for “only very very special occassions" ; as a young Queen Silvia wore it to almost every state visit, however she has never worn it to the Nobel Prize Awards.
However lately Silvia has opted to wear other tiaras for special occasions, this is probably due to the heavy and uncomfortable nature of this tiara. Silvia has said that this tiara is "complicated to wear… it moves [as you wear it] and is not easy to fix." It has also been said that is is very heavy to wear and hard on the wearer’s neck.
The last time Silvia wore this big gun tiara was at her daughter, Crown Princess Victoria’s wedding in 2010 (shown above).