Diamond Loop Tiara worn by Princess Mary of Wales, later Queen Mary, to Queen Alexandra & King Edward VII Coronation in 1902. It has since been broken up to create other pieces.
Grand Duchess Vladimir Tiara
Owned by Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna (aka Grand Duchess Vladimir) until her death in 1920, the tiara was sold by her daughter Princess Nicholas of Greece to Queen Mary. Mary wore it for several portraits before dying in 1953 and passing it onto Queen Elizabeth II.
The tiara has three settings: Emeralds, Pearls, or none at all. Elizabeth has worn all three settings on many occasions in her long reign.
A guide to common terms used in describing tiaras
♕ Fleur de Lys Tiara
This tiara, considered the most important diadem of their collection, called “La Buena” (The Good one) and only worn by the Queens of Spain, was a wedding present from King Alfonso XIII to his bride, Princess Victoria Eugenie of Battenberg. Made in 1906 by Ansorena with more than 500 diamonds set in platinum, it features the Fleur de Lys, the Bourbon’s emblem.
From the beginning, this diadem became one of the favorites of the young Queen, who was married wearing it and chose it for her first photo session as Queen of Spain in 1906.
Her Majesty was photographed and painted with the Fleur de Lys on numerous occasions. Shortly after her wedding the Queen opened the tiara and started wearing it in its current form.
Queen Victoria used the tiara throughout her life, and unlike many of her tiaras and jewels, she never lent it to her daughters, the Infantas Beatriz and María Cristina.Queen Victoria Eugenia lent the tiara to her daughter-in-law, the wife of the Head of the Family, on a few occasions, one of them for the coronation of Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom in 1953.
In her will, the late Queen Victoria Eugenia left the Fleur de Lys tiara to her son Don Juan, Count of Barcelona and pretender to the Spanish throne. The tiara was left for the exclusive use of the Queens so when King Juan Carlos was proclaimed King in 1975, his mother, the Countess of Barcelona passed the tiara to the new Queen, Sofía of Greece and Denmark.
Queen Sofía has used the Fleur de Lys tiara on the grandest occasions, like State Visits from other Monarchies or the 60th Jubilee of the King of Thailand in 2006, the last time she wore the tiara. Following tradition, the next wearer of the tiara would be the Princess of Asturias after her husband becomes Felipe VI, King of Spain.
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.