23 May 2015

Saturday Sparkler Special: Queen Mary's Tiaras (Part 3)


We're delving once more this Saturday into the immense jewel vaults of Queen Mary of the United Kingdom. So far, we've surveyed her diamond and diamond and pearl tiaras; today, we're marveling at a number of her tiaras that included colored gemstones...



The Teck Turquoise Tiara

Current Owner: Duke and Duchess of Gloucester
Original Owner: Princess Mary Adelaide, Duchess of Teck
Maker: Unknown maker, ca. 1850; altered in 1912 by E. Wolff and Co.

Mary received this tiara, which has a coordinating suite of turquoise and diamond jewels, from her parents as a wedding present in 1893. Never one of her most-worn pieces, she had the height of the tiara adjusted in 1912. Two decades later she gave the turquoises to her new daughter-in-law, Princess Alice, as a wedding gift. It's been with the Gloucesters ever since.






Marie Feodorovna's Sapphire and Diamond Bandeau

Current Owner: Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom
Original Owner: Supposedly Empress Marie Feodorovna of Russia
Maker: Unknown

This simple, elegant diamond bandeau with a large sapphire center element was supposedly purchased by Queen Mary from Princess Nicholas of Greece and Denmark, who was born a Romanov grand duchess. (The provenance of the piece has never really been made clear.) Queen Mary wore it in her later years, and it was also donned several times by Princess Margaret. Presumably this one is languishing in the vaults at Buckingham Palace today.

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Queen Mary's Honeysuckle Tiara

Current Owner: Duke and Duchess of Gloucester
Original Owner: Queen Mary of the United Kingdom
Maker: E. Wolff and Co., 1914

Queen Mary commissioned this tiara, which features honeysuckle elements throughout in diamonds, in 1914. Later, she had the firm reduce the size of the tiara's peak. Originally the piece was made to hold one of the Cullinan diamonds, which was interchangeable with a sapphire. When Mary gifted the tiara to her daughter-in-law, Princess Alice, she had a new diamond center element made. Today, the piece is worn by the current Duchess of Gloucester with that diamond, an emerald, or a third stone that is either a kunzite or a pink topaz.

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The Delhi Durbar Tiara

Current Owner: Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom
Original Owner: Queen Mary of the United Kingdom
Maker: Garrard and Co., 1911

Queen Mary's husband, King George V, called this sparkler her "best tiara." It was made for the
Delhi Durbar, the celebration of the couple's coronation in India. Mary recycled diamonds from another dismantled tiara (the diamond loop tiara made by Boucheron) to make the piece, which was originally also set with some of the famous Cambridge emeralds. In 1912, Garrard altered the piece so that it could also be worn with the Cullinan III and IV diamonds. Mary gave it as a long-term loan to the Queen Mum, who kept it until her death. Today, it's on long-term loan to the Duchess of Cornwall, who has so far only worn it in public once.

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The Cambridge Sapphire Tiara

Current Owner: sold at auction
Original Owner: Princess Augusta, Duchess of Cambridge
Maker: Unknown maker, ca. mid-19th century

Part of a diamond and sapphire parure that passed through Queen Mary's family from her grandmother, the Duchess of Cambridge, to her aunt, the Grand Duchess of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, this tiara was given by Mary to her daughter-in-law, Princess Marina, as a wedding gift. The Kent family retained the tiara for two generations, but it was sold some time ago by the present Duke and Duchess. A new tiara was fashioned out of the button necklace from the set.

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