29 May 2014

Tiara Thursday: The Russian Wave Pattern Tiara

The Russian Wave Pattern Tiara
Dating from the 19th century, this diadem includes more than 500 brilliant diamonds in a stylized interpretation of a wave pattern, the "waves" topped with 18 upright drop pearls. Though some have identified it as Cartier, many sources state that its maker is unknown. Coming from the imperial Russian collection, it is best associated with Empress Marie Feodorovna (1847-1928), the wife of Alexander III; the tsarina was portrayed wearing pieces of the parure on more than one occasion.
Marie Feodorovna, in the tiara (left) and the necklace (right)
Although the clean lines of this design make a stark contrast to some of the more ornate pieces in the imperial collection, it is no less extravagant; not only is the tiara itself quite large and a complete circlet, it was part of a parure which included a brooch and a rather large matching necklace. The necklace is close to a mirror of the tiara, leading many to identify it as the tiara taken off its frame, though they are two separate pieces.
The tiara, necklace, and brooch displayed along with other jewels confiscated by the Bolsheviks, and the necklace and brooch separate
Like so many other imperial jewels, this set was taken by the Bolsheviks at the time of the revolution; it was catalogued and ultimately sold. But unlike others that have survived and resurfaced, this one so far remains lost, perhaps dismantled before or after the initial sale. Which is a shame, I say, because this design has serious potential for translating to today's fashions.

Do you agree?

Photos:  A.E. Fersman/Hermitage/Wikimedia Commons