Built as a showcase for three large pearls, the Murat Tiara is a creation by Joseph Chaumet. It dates from 1920, when it was created as a wedding gift for the marriage of Prince Alexandre Murat (1889-1926) and Yvonne Gillois (1894-1961). The large pearls came from the Murat family. The center pearl, noted as an "exceptional treasure" at the time of the tiara's sale, is a baroque button-shaped natural pearl of over 75 carats (75.84 carats to be exact, or 303.37 grains). Two additional large pearls, also button-shaped and natural, were added to the sides of the design, adding some balance to the large centerpiece. The family also supplied most of the diamonds used for the design of acanthus foliage scrolls that accent the pearls.
The Murat family's title goes back to the reign of Napoleon I, when Joachim Murat (1767-1815) rose up through the military and married Napoleon's sister Caroline Bonaparte. Titles were granted and eventually Joachim was King of Naples and Sicily (though all did not end well for him; he was ultimately executed for treason after the fall of Napoleon). The family maintained a prominent position in French society, and at the time of this tiara's creation, there still would have been plenty of tiara occasions for the new bride to attend.
This is a tiara certainly intended to convey status, thanks to those enormous pearls. The design itself is grand enough to recall the family's roots, with an acanthus motif that would have fit in at Napoleon's court. The tiara originally had a separate bandeau on which it could be worn for additional height and an option to be worn at the forehead, in a style very much of the 1920s but also very much in the style of Empress Joséphine. All of that grandeur paid off when the tiara was auctioned at Sotheby's in 2012. Estimated to bring in up to $2,445,636, the tiara sold for $3,864,318.
What do you say: A successful incorporation of large single gems?