Archives for November 2014
During her lifetime, Princess Mary — daughter of George V and aunt of the current queen — had several tiaras at her disposal. One of the most often-discussed of these is Mary’s sapphire and diamond coronet (the one designed by Prince Albert for Queen Victoria), but today, let’s discuss a second: her convertible sapphire and diamond scroll tiara.
Mary wears the tiara, ca. 1922
When I use the word “convertible” to refer to a tiara, I generally mean
that it can be worn in more than one configuration. This tiara
qualifies, but not because it can be worn as a bracelet or a necklace;
instead, its central element can be swapped out to create a different
look. The diamond tiara, which features scroll and palmette motifs, can
be worn either with a vaguely floral, oval-shaped diamond element in its
center or with a large oval-shaped sapphire.
That large sapphire, which is surrounded by fourteen diamonds, was the princess’s wedding present from her mother, Queen Mary. Some have speculated that this is one of the Prince Albert sapphire brooches, though I’ve never seen any confirmation of that. The provenance of the diamond scroll tiara that Mary wore with her sapphire brooch is also uncertain. I’ve seen sources that assume that this piece was one of the jewels that George V gave his daughter as a wedding present (along with Queen Victoria’s sapphire and diamond coronet and the sapphire and diamond necklace, which also belonged to Victoria).
Mary wears the all-diamond version of the tiara, ca. 1920s
I’ve also seen speculation that the tiara may be Russian in origin. I’m actually going to posit another theory: I think the tiara might have been made by E. Wolff and Co., around the same time that the company made the Gloucester Honeysuckle Tiara for Queen Mary. The original version of the honeysuckle tiara shares some intriguing similarities with this one, including the ability to swap out the central element. I’ve got no solid proof of this, mind you — it’s just a hunch.
No speculation is needed regarding the fate of the tiara, however. Mary wore the piece at many important occasions during her lifetime, including the coronation of her niece in 1953. But after her death in 1965, the lion’s share of Mary’s jewels were sold, including the tiara, the sapphire and diamond necklace, and the brooch. (Not the sapphire and diamond coronet, though — that’s still with the Lascelles family today.) The tiara fetched almost ten thousand pounds at auction. The brooch, however, bested it, selling for a tidy £10,500.
9. Queen Letizia of Spain wore her oval pendant earrings, plus a bright red lip, to attend an event on volunteerism in Palma de Mallorca on Thursday.
8. Letizia wore another pair of pendant earrings — this time in gold and rubies — at an event on Monday celebrating the 75th anniversary of the CSIC in Madrid.
7. The Duchess of Cambridge supported one of her patronages, the East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices, at the launch of their new charity appeal on Tuesday. She accessorized with her Kiki McDonough green amethyst earrings and Mappin and Webb’s Fortune necklace.
6. Queen Maxima of the Netherlands wore dramatic earrings and a diamond bracelet to an event at the orchestra in The Hague on Friday.
5. Wearing simple earrings, a diamond pendant, and a large cuff bracelet, Infanta Elena of Spain represented her brother, King Felipe, at the funeral of the Duchess of Alba in Seville on Friday.
4. Queen Mathilde of the Belgians chose gold jewelry, including earrings, a watch, and a bracelet, for her visit to a retirement home on Friday.
3. Queen Sofia of Spain wore dramatic jewels at an awards ceremony in Valencia on Tuesday.
2. On Tuesday, Queen Silvia of Sweden wore her multicolored pearls, a large brooch, and several bracelets from her charity, the World Childhood Foundation, to accept the Martin Buber Plaque in the Netherlands.
1. The British royal jewel collection got a little bit larger this week! In her role as president of the International Equestrian Foundation, Princess Haya of Jordan presented Queen Elizabeth II with the organization’s inaugural lifetime achievement award. The award included a white gold and diamond brooch designed as a series of interlocking horseshoes:
I have a feeling we’ll see HM debut this one at Epsom or Ascot this year!