08 May 2014

Tiara Thursday: The Bavarian Sunburst Tiara

The Bavarian Sunburst Tiara
Containing a tall central motif with a spiky look, giving it the 'sunburst' name, the Bavarian Sunburst Tiara was one of the wedding gifts given to Infanta María de la Paz (1862-1946) for her 1883 wedding to Prince Ludwig Ferdinand of Bavaria. It was a present from the bride's mother, Queen Isabella II of Spain, and that heritage is reflected in the central fleur de lys motif, which is part of the coat of arms of the House of Bourbon. The fleur de lys motif is set en tremblant, meaning it trembles with the wearer's movements for maximum sparkle. The whole tiara is composed of diamonds, both circular-cut and rose, and the frame is detachable.
Left to Right: The center of the tiara, Princesses Ursula, Anna, and Felipa
The tiara remained with the Bavarian family for more than a century. In recent years, it was worn by the family of Prince Leopold of Bavaria, who is a great-grandson of Ludwig Ferdinand and María de la Paz. The tiara has been worn to various royal events by Princess Ursula, wife of Prince Leopold, as well as their daughter Princess Felipa and daughter-in-law Princess Anna. But the tiara was sold in May 2013 at Sotheby's, marked as the "Property of a Member of a European Family". It sold for $181,050, over its original estimate of $104,653-$156,980.
Also at that auction was an amethyst and diamond demi-parure (above) consisting of a necklace and earrings which date back to Queen Therese of Bavaria (1792-1854). That set sold for $143,375. The Bavarian jewels went to unknown buyers, but the family is not without jewels for big occasions; at Princess Madeleine's wedding this past summer, both Princess Ursula and Princess Anna wore other tiaras.

Were these on your wish list?
(You know I'd give a limb or two for those amethysts, but I have to say I'd do without the tiara. Oddly tall in the center, I've always thought.)

In newer auction news, the Rosenborg Kokoshnik Tiara is up for sale again - I tweeted about this a while back, but I'm getting a lot of emails, so we'll mention it here. You may recall that it was first offered for sale by a Scandinavian auction house in 2012; now the owners are trying a higher profile Sotheby's auction to be held on May 13. And the price has been drastically reduced, from more than $200,000 to an estimate of $62,143 - $101,688, so apparently they are really hoping to get rid of it. Get your pennies together...

Photos: Sothebys/dpa/Scanpix/Getty/Sothebys