Royal Jewellery - The Grand Duchess Vladimir Tiara
It was originally made, as the name indicates, for Maria Pavlovna (“the elder”), wife of Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovitch and aunt of Tsar Nicholas II. Grand Duchess Vladimir was fond of everything extravagant (and especially extravaganza that would outshine her sister in law, Maria Feodorovna, and her nephew’s wife, Alexandra Feodorovna), and this tiara is a brilliant example of just that. The tiara consisting of 15 intertwined diamond circles with diamonds on top and pendant pearls was made in 1874, by the Russian court jeweler, Bolin. After being smuggled out of St. Petersburg, where she had hid it, in 1918, she died leaving the magnificent piece to her only daughter, Elena, Princess Nicholas of Greece. Elena, though, had to sell it to support her rather poor family, and the 1921 buyer was Great Britain’s very own Queen Mary. After having repaired the tiara which had suffered a hard journey, Mary got the idea of replacing the pearls with some of her Cambridge emeralds. Mary herself, left the tiara to her granddaughter, Queen Elizabeth II at her death in 1953, and it is one of her most favourite pieces (she has even worn it without pendants). Above with emeralds.