28 December 2019

The Best Royal Jewels of 2019: #7 (Royal Fabergé in the Spotlight)

Photo generously shared with us by Jeanne; do not reproduce

2019 has been a banner year for royal jewelry auctions, but few sales drummed up as much interest as a pair of Fabergé tiaras...

#7: Royal Fabergé in the Spotlight



Sotheby's

Examples of tiaras made by the Faberge workshop are rare, and to have to royal ones come to the market in the same year is astounding. The first was this diamond kokoshnik-style tiara, made in 1903. Two years later, the sparkler was given as a wedding present to Duchess Cecilie of Mecklenburg-Schwerin on her marriage to Crown Prince Wilhelm of Germany. The tiara was a gift from her Russian relatives.




The tiara's most prominent royal appearance came in 1949, when Crown Princess Cecilie's daughter, Princess Cecilie of Prussia, married an American designer, Clyde Harris. The younger Cecilie wore the tiara on her wedding day at Hohenzollern Castle.


Sotheby's

The tiara was sold by Sotheby's in Geneva on May 14, exceeding its auction estimate by fetching more than $430,000.


Christie's

The day after Crown Princess Cecilie's Faberge tiara was sold, another fantastic tiara from the jeweler was offered at auction. This spectacular diamond and aquamarine tiara was made by Faberge in 1904. It was also a wedding present, offered to Princess Alexandra of Hanover by her new husband, Grand Duke Friedrich Franz IV of Mecklenburg-Schwerin. (Friedrich Franz and Cecilie, the owner of the diamond tiara, were siblings.)


Grand Ladies Site

Grand Duchess Alexandra wore her new tiara for the first time at a court ball held shortly after her wedding, and she posed for portraits in the sparkler around the same time. The tiara was inherited by her descendants after her death in 1963.


Christie's

Christie's sold the tiara in Geneva on May 15, and when the hammer fell, the tiara fetched more than a million dollars. While we don't know who bought Crown Princess Cecilie's tiara, we do know who bought Grand Duchess Alexandra's: Dorothy and Artie McFerrin, who own one of the largest private collections of Fabergé in North America.


Photo generously shared with us by Jeanne; do not reproduce

The McFerrins have generously placed much of their collection on display in a permanent gallery at the Houston Museum of Natural Science, and the diamond and aquamarine tiara has now joined the exhibition. One of our lovely readers, Jeanne, has kindly shared this photo of the tiara on display in its new home. It sits between two other excellent examples of tiaras by Faberge: the Leuchtenberg Fabergé Tiara, once owned by Queen Marie-Jose of Italy, and the Westminster Blue Enamel Kokoshnik.