15 February 2020

Queen Alexandrine's Russian Sapphire Tiara on Display

Bruun Rasmussen

Good news, tiara fans: we've got another chance to get a glimpse of a classic Danish royal sparkler! Queen Alexandrine's Russian Sapphire Tiara has gone on public display in Copenhagen.

Caroline-Mathilde wears the original jewel in its bandeau form (Bruun Rasmussen)

The tiara, which is generally attributed to Bolin, was given by Emperor Nicholas II and Empress Alexandra of Russia to an imperial cousin, Alexandrine of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, when she married another cousin, the future King Christian X of Denmark, in 1898. The piece was originally a convertible bandeau. In 1933, Alexandrine gave the jewel to her daughter-in-law, Princess Caroline-Mathilde, who wears it in its original bandeau form above.

Countess Anne-Dorte wears the tiara, 2010 (KELD NAVNTOFT/AFP/Getty Images)

In the 1960s, Caroline-Mathilde commissioned alterations to the bandeau, having it transformed into a more traditional tiara. She bequeathed the new version of the sparkler to her son, Count Christian of Rosenborg, and it was subsequently worn by his wife, Countess Anne-Dorte. (You can read a far more detailed history of the tiara over here!)

Bruun Rasmussen

After the death of Countess Anne-Dorte in 2014, the tiara was inherited by her daughters, Countess Josephine, Countess Camilla, and Countess Feodora of Rosenborg. They decided to sell the tiara. Bruun Rasmussen auctioned the diadem in 2018, and when the hammer fell, the piece sold for the top of its estimate: two million kroner, or about $290,000.

Ida Guldbæk Arentsen/Kongehuset

We don't know the identity of the buyer, but the tiara has since resurfaced. Delightfully, the diadem was recently loaned to a new exhibition at the Amalienborg Museum. The piece is displayed with several other Russian jewels in the new Fabergé Chamber. It may not be a Fabergé tiara, but it certainly fits with the Russian theme!