06 February 2014

Tiara Thursday: The Savoy Pink Tourmaline Tiara

The Savoy Pink Tourmaline Tiara
When Princess Elisabeth of Saxony (1830-1912) married Prince Ferdinand, Duke of Genoa, in 1850, she received a grand gift from her new mother-in-law, Queen Maria Teresa of Sardinia: a full parure of jewelry, including a large tiara, an intricate necklace, a brooch with three pendants, large pendant earrings, and two bracelets. One of the bracelets is now used as a choker, and the earrings can be worn in two versions. The set was originally designed in diamonds and garnets, the garnets able to be switched out for pink tourmalines. (The stones here have been reported as different materials: garnet/tourmaline per Jewellery of the House of Savoy by Maria Gabriella of Savoy and Stefano Papi, or pink topaz replaceable with turquoise or jet per Vincent Meylan's Queens' Jewels.) At one point in time, some elements of the parure were set with coral and coral beads.
Two earring versions; the tiara side view
The tiara, which we see today used with the pink tourmaline option, includes oval tourmalines set in diamond surrounds of a floral design separated by rectangular tourmalines topped by floral elements. Most of the rest of the parure mimics the floral design of the tiara, though the bracelets were at one point redesigned by the jeweler Musy with Savoy knots separating the colored stones.
Marina, wearing the choker/bracelet, earrings and (shown left) the tiara, tilted back
Princess Elisabeth and Prince Ferdinand had two children together. Their daughter Margherita (1851-1926) married King Umberto I of Italy, and the parure came to her when Elisabeth died. It is still with the Italian family today. It has been worn in recent years by Marina, wife of Vittorio Emanuele, Prince of Naples, and by their daughter-in-law Clotilde, wife of Emanuele Filiberto, Prince of Venice and Piedmont. (Vittorio Emanuele is the son of the last King of Italy, Umberto II.)
Clotilde, wearing the tiara and small earrings, and the large earrings
The tiara received its best outing in recent years when Clotilde wore it on her wedding day in 2003, and the two ladies have used pieces at various royal wedding celebrations. We don't get a lot of opportunities to see this set in action, which is unfortunate since it is one of the grandest pink stone parures around.

Is this your favorite pink tiara?

Photos: Getty Images/Point de Vue