23 November 2019

Grand Duchess Alexandra's Faberge Tiara Finds a Home!


Great news, tiara lovers! The grand aquamarine and diamond Fabergé tiara that belonged to Grand Duchess Alexandra of Mecklenburg-Schwerin has found an excellent new home in the Houston Museum of Natural Science.

Grand Ladies Site

The tiara was made by Faberge as a wedding gift for Princess Alexandra of Hanover on her marriage to Grand Duke Friedrich Franz IV of Mecklenburg-Schwerin in 1904. The tiara's elaborate diamond base features numerous elements typical of belle epoque style, including forget-me-knots and ribbons. You'll also note that the large, pear-shaped aquamarines are set atop cupid's arrows -- a touching design element for a tiara given as a wedding present. We covered the tiara's history extensively in this earlier post.


The tiara arrived shortly after the couple's wedding, and Alexandra immediately wore it for royal portraits and a grand court ball. It remained a cherished part of her jewelry box until her death in 1963, and it was passed down through her descendants until May 2019, when it was sold at Christie's for more than a million dollars.


And now we've learned the identity of the buyers: Dorothy and Artie McFerrin, who own one of the largest private collections of Fabergé in North America. They generously share their bejeweled bounty with the public through a collaboration with the Houston Museum of Natural Science, which features a permanent gallery of pieces from the McFerrin collection. The tiara joins two other spectacular Fabergé diadems in the display: the Leuchtenberg Fabergé Tiara, once owned by Queen Marie-Jose of Italy, and the Westminster Blue Enamel Kokoshnik. (Time to make Houston a part of your travel plans, magpies!)