23 January 2020

A Victorian Gem in Mayfair

Charlie J. Ercilla/Alamy

Sometimes when I'm bored, I find myself surfing around the Instagram pages of various antique jewelry dealers. This week I stumbled upon a gem on one of the accounts: a tiara that looks a whole lot like a pair of lost tiaras from Queen Mary's collection.

Charlie J. Ercilla/Alamy

Robin Haydock Antiques, a dealer located at Grays in Mayfair, is offering this exquisite Victorian tiara. The piece, which is a fringe tiara with floral elements, is convertible for wear as a necklace. More than 100 diamonds are incorporated into the jewel's design.

Here's a look at the necklace setting of the piece from the firm's Instagram page.

Queen Mary wears the Collingwood Fringe Tiara on her wedding day, 1893

There are distinct similarities between the tiara and Queen Mary's wedding tiara, the Collingwood Fringe. That diamond tiara was Mary's wedding gift from her new husband's grandmother, Queen Victoria. The tiara was partially hidden behind a spray of flowers on Mary's wedding day.

Illustration of the necklace setting of the Collingwood Fringe Tiara from Queen Mary's wedding gift list, 1893

The Collingwood tiara was also able to be taken off its frame and worn as a necklace; this illustration shows the necklace setting of the piece. Sadly, the Collingwood Fringe Tiara no longer exists. Queen Mary had it broken up in 1919, using the diamonds to make her new fringe tiara.

Illustration of the County of Surrey Tiara from Queen Mary's wedding gift list, 1893

Mary's collection also included one more very similar diadem. This sparkler, the County of Surrey Tiara, featured a fringe design that was quite close to both Mary's Collingwood Fringe Tiara and the one currently shown at Robin Haydock. This tiara was also eventually dismantled. The diamonds from the Surrey Tiara were subsequently incorporated into both the Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara and the Honeysuckle Tiara.

Charlie J. Ercilla/Alamy

This close-up of the tiara currently for sale in London shows the similarities between its design and that of both the Collingwood and Surrey Tiaras. It's so interesting to see a surviving example of the style, especially since both of Mary's similar tiaras no longer exist.

Which royal would you like to see wearing this sparkling Victorian jewel?