The autumn of 2021 brought us something rather astonishing: a Romanov family wedding, held in Russia for the first time in a century. And, of course, the festivities included a glittering diamond bridal tiara.
On October 1, George Mikhailovich Romanov, a descendant of Emperor Alexander II of Russia, married his fiancée, Victoria Romanovna Bettarini, at St. Isaac’s Cathedral in St. Petersburg. To many Russian monarchists, George is Grand Duke George Mikhailovich of Russia, heir to the headship of the House of Romanov. (Much more on all that over here.) His new bride was given a title (HSH Princess Victoria Romanovna Romanoff) by his mother, Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna, one of the pretenders to the Russian throne.
A few months before the wedding, Victoria revealed that she had already chosen the tiara that she would wear with her bridal ensemble. She selected a modern take on a traditional kokoshnik from Chaumet, the famous French jewelry house. The Lacis Tiara is made of white gold and set with diamonds. The firm describes the tiara as having “a subtle interplay of light and transparency” which is “orchestrated by the crossing of fils couteau mountings, an iconic virtuosity of the Maison which seems to render the metal structure invisible in order to let the stones sparkle.” The design of the tiara was also inspired by contemporary architectural trends.
In an interview with Point de Vue, Victoria revealed that Chaumet’s connections to George’s ancestor, Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna (Grand Duchess Vladimir), was part of the inspiration for her tiara choice. She also noted that she was drawn to the tiara’s kokoshnik-like shape, with its visual links to the traditional Russian tiara style. She explained, “It suits the wedding dress perfectly and reflects my own personality very well.”
Victoria wore the tiara as she walked down the aisle of the cathedral for her wedding in October. The overall look for her bridal ensemble was much more streamlined and modern than the traditional attire of Romanov imperial brides. It was clear that, although the family still considers themselves to be the keepers of the Romanov legacy, the bride was still firmly rooted in the present day when she chose her dress and jewels for the occasion.
Previous Romanov brides wore so much heavy clothing and cumbersome jewelry that they were unable to move without assistance. Here’s a view of the traditional Romanov diamond wedding jewels, worn by Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna (the Younger) of Russia for her wedding to Prince Wilhelm of Sweden in 1908. She wore all of the traditional bridal jewelry pieces: the tiara and nuptial crown, the cherry earrings, the necklace, the cloak clasp, and the bracelet. Those pieces have since been dispersed, and some have disappeared entirely.
Victoria’s delicate Chaumet tiara and her classic diamond earrings were both beautiful and much easier to move in during the wedding celebrations.
There was also one more traditional bejeweled touch during the ceremony. The couple exchanged wedding bands made by Fabergé, the firm that served as the official jeweler of the imperial family from 1885 until the revolution.