17 March 2011

Tiara Thursday: Marie Feodorovna's Sapphire Bandeau

Allow me to dip into my list of Tiaras I'd Like to See Resurrected for a moment, will you? Languishing in the vaults somewhere, the British royal family has this gem:
This is Empress Marie Feodorovna's Sapphire Bandeau Tiara. Sometimes you'll see it called the Grand Duchess Marie Feodorovna's, or sometimes Maria instead of Marie, and sometimes other variations on that, but I'll go with what I said there. This tiara is another one of the many sparkly things added to the royal stash by Queen Mary.
Marie Feodorovna was born Princess Dagmar of Denmark and was the daughter of King Christian IX of Denmark and sister of Queen Alexandra, wife of Britain's King Edward VII. She was the wife of Alexander III of Russia and mother of Nicholas II. She was also the owner of a truly grand jewel collection that dispersed after her death since there was no longer a monarchy in Russia to hold on to the gems. Queen Mary's fetish for collecting was particularly voracious when it came to anything with royal provenance, and she scooped up quite a few of the Empress's pieces. (That said, I don't know that there is any definitive proof that this really did belong to Marie Feodorovna; it could be speculation.)

Mary left the tiara to Queen Elizabeth (later the Queen Mother). She never wore it in public, but she did loan it to her daughter Princess Margaret.
It's a delicious piece, isn't it? A whopper of a sapphire surrounded by a delicate diamond pattern in sort of a sun ray shape. Grand, yet not too big.

I think this one's a natural suggestion for Kate. (Not for the wedding, but perhaps later.) She already has the sapphire engagement ring. Plus, it would go great with some of the Windsor's sapphire pieces that I don't think we see enough of.
The gorgeous sapphires that were in Diana's collection are worth mentioning: the giant brooch given to her on her wedding by the Queen Mother which she mounted on a pearl choker, and the sapphire suite which was a wedding gift from the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, among others. (Naturally, only time will tell what kind of access Kate has to Diana's jewels - or what kind of desire she has to sport them.) The Queen has a modern sapphire suite that was a present from the Dubai royals that she doesn't wear all that often. Queen Mary gifted the Queen Mother with sapphire jewels for her wedding, and I've always wondered what happened to those. There is, in fact, also a sapphire choker that came from the very same collection, but Princess Anne has it now.
Any sapphires you're drooling over? Does this one make your list of Hopeful Resurrections?