|Queen Geraldine's Diamond Tiara|
If you're thinking huh?!, I wouldn't blame you; the ram's head is definitely one of the stranger tiara motifs we've seen in five years of Tiara Thursday features. When you start to dig into the background of the tiara and the people it was created for, however, it starts to make a little more sense.
The tiara created for Geraldine has the shape and other characteristics of jewels we refer to as tiaras, while also carrying the symbolic purpose of a crown for the new Queen consort. Crowns often include crosses or other religious symbols, but a match between a Roman Catholic bride and a Muslim king was reason enough to leave them out of this design. (The Royal Magazin site offers the designer's thoughts on this, from her book.)
|The Albanian royal crest, featuring the ram's head at the top (left), and Skanderbeg's helmet with a large horned goat/ram's head on top (right)|
718Bot/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0, Sandstein/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY 3.0
Video: Queen Geraldine can be seen wearing this tiara during the celebrations for the 10th anniversary of the monarchy in 1938 (tiara appears around the :16 mark)
The reign of King Zog I didn't last long after the wedding. Italy invaded Albania in April 1939, just a year later and just days after Queen Geraldine gave birth to a son, and they fled into exile. Some of the jewelry was eventually sold, most notably in 1959 sale. In 1966, Geraldine's Diamond Tiara was purchased by American pharmaceutical executive Elmer Holmes Bobst. He bought it for his wife, Mamdouha, to wear to a White House reception where he was to be honored. She was the owner of a fascinating jewelry collection that included other pieces by Marianne Ostier.
Video: The tiara appears in a preview for the upcoming Sotheby's auction
Mamdouha Bobst passed away in 2015. Some of the Bobst jewels, Queen Geraldine's Diamond Tiara included, will be offered at the Magnificent Jewels sale at Sotheby's in New York on April 19. The tiara's estimate is $30,000-$50,000. See the lot at Sotheby's here, including a photo of Mrs. Bobst wearing the tiara.
What say you: intriguing in a good way, or not so much?