Alas, in the words of Lorde, we will never be royal. Even though we have slowly resigned ourselves to life as peons, we’ll soon get the opportunity to dress like the royalty we will never be. This month, Christie’s will offer eight diamond tiaras at their sales in Geneva and London. And with price-points that range from $6,000 all the way to $400,000, Christie’s has a tiara for every little girl (castle not included).
For those in search of an authentic royal experience, three of Christie’s tiaras even come with a truly royal or noble provenance.
Magnificent Jewels: Geneva
The first tiara up for sale is possibly the most intricate. It is composed of five graduated palmette elements above a line of trefoil motifs and a geometric link base. The Old Mine and Old European-cut diamonds are set in silver backed in gold, and all elements of the tiara are detachable. The Property of a Gentleman, this tiara dates from 1860 – 1880, and comes with a custom fitted leather case.
With its light and airy feel, this tiara seems to be a mix of the Grand and Aesthetic styles of the Victorian Era. Although the tiara is silver over gold, and most diamonds appear to be Old Mine-cuts (hallmarks of Grand construction), the palmettes and link base are show order and geometry rather than the naturalism, heavy scroll-work, or archaeological revivalism typical of the 1860s. Several diamonds towards the front of the tiara appear to be Old European-cut, a cut that was developed around 1874. While these stones could have been later replacements, the knife-wire technique seen on the trefoil motifs is added evidence of the Aesthetic style.
The tiara is expected to sell for $86,000 – $110,000.
Important Jewels: King’s Road, London
This circa 1890 tiara is formed from a scrolling floral and foliate design in silver backed in gold. The tiara centers around a peaked panel with a diamond cluster with graduated openwork panel accents. The tiara is accompanied by a detachable backchain for use as a necklace.
The tiara is expected to fetch $6,425 – $9,650.
This tiara takes shape as a series of alternating foliate motifs and diamond collet accents, anchored by a line of diamonds. Set in platinum and gold, the tiara is set with rose and Old European-cut diamonds, and features the milgrain and knife-wire finishes typical of the early 20th century. It can be worn as a necklace on the accompanying detachable back-chain, also set with rose-cut diamonds.
This piece dates to around 1900, and includes the original fitted case. It is expected to sell for $11,250 – $16,075.
This simple tiara is composed of a graduated line of seven antique cushion-cut diamond collets set within diamond-encrusted fleur-de-lis clusters. The clusters are raised above a diamond frame. The tiara was rhodium plated at a later date.
This piece is currently the property of a European Princely Family. Family history alleges that the diamonds used in this tiara were originally part of the jewelry collection of Anna Paulowna von Holstein-Gottorp-Romanov, Grand Duchess of Russia, Queen of the Netherlands. The diamonds were remounted several times, and were inherited in their present form by the current owner. The tiara is expected to fetch $24,100 – $32,150.
This rare and unusual gold tiara is composed of a double row of graduated natural pearls and Old European-cut and rose-cut diamond clusters, joined by diamond lines and swags. The tiara can be worn as a necklace on the accompanying detachable diamond-set chain, and had matching pendant earrings ensuite.
Circa 1890, the tiara is accompanied by a GPL report stating the three larger pearls are natural, saltwater pearls. The tiara is expected to sell for $24,100 – $32,150.
This unusual nautical tiara is composed of five graduated open-work shell-like panels. Each panel is set with an Old Mine-cut diamond collet with radiating lines of diamonds. The shells are interspersed with fleur-de-lis motifs, and all components are set on a raised diamond line. The tiara is made of silver over gold, and can be worn as a necklace with the accompanying detachable mesh chain, or the central component may be worn as a brooch.
Circa 1880, the tiara includes the original fitted case. It carries a pre-sale estimate of $24,100 – $32,150.
Circa 1890, this tiara forms a delicate series of seven graduated fleur-de-lis panels alternating with scrolled trifurcated accent spacers with single-stone surmounts. All components are set with Old-cut diamonds and are joined by diamond collet swags atop a diamond line. The tiara is made of silver over gold, and may be worn as a necklace.
This writer’s run-away personal favorite, the tiara is currently the property of a Royal House, and is expected to sell for $64,275 – $96,420.
The most valuable of any of the tiaras, this piece is composed of a series of interlocking loops of Old Mine-cut diamonds. Each loop is centered around a pear and cushion-shaped diamond three-stone center. Mounted in silver over gold, this tiara may also be worn as a collar necklace and contains a concealed clasp.
The tiara dates to around 1860 and is an excellent example of mid-19th century styles. It is currently the property of a nobleman, and carries a pre-sale estimate of $290,000 – $402,000.