26 November 2014

Tiara Thursday (on a Wednesday): The Greek Pearl and Diamond Necklace Tiara

Programming Note: Tomorrow is a holiday (Happy Thanksgiving!), so there will be no new post. But we won't go two weeks without a tiara feature, so enjoy this week's a day early. We'll return on Friday.

It's rare that I like a necklace tiara more in its necklace form - I'm a tiara girl, what can I say? - but I think that might be the case here. Or perhaps what I'm really after is the pendant that this piece once held...
The Greek Pearl and Diamond Necklace Tiara, in necklace form and in detail
Queen Frederika of Greece (1917-1981) had a necklace of pearls and diamonds featuring a large pointed center motif flanked by repeating motifs of a pearl surrounded by a fine diamond line. Not a lot is known about the piece, but Frederika was pictured wearing it fairly early on and continued to use it until late in her life. She used the necklace in its plain form but also swapped out the center motif for a large sapphire pendant from her collection.
Queen Frederika using the tiara as a necklace; Princess Irene using it as a tiara
And when I say "large" sapphire pendant, I mean LARGE. Large as in 478.68 carats in one stone. The sapphire in question has royal connections prior to Frederika: Queen Marie of Romania (1875-1938) wore it first. The cushion-cut sapphire was purchased from Cartier by Marie's husband, King Ferdinand. As you may remember from last time, Marie's jewels had been sent to Russia for safe keeping prior to the Bolshevik revolution and were sadly never returned to her. This sapphire was one of several jewel purchases she and her husband made to replenish her collection. Queen Marie wore the piece on a long diamond sautoir necklace and passed it down in the family, but by the marriage of her grandson King Michael in 1948, the family was in exile and the sapphire had been sold. It was subsequently purchased by a wealthy Greek citizen and presented to Queen Frederika as a private gift.
The sapphire; Queen Frederika using it as a pendant on this necklace
When it wasn't in use as an accessory to that mega sapphire, the pearl and diamond necklace could also be used as a tiara. Queen Frederika's daughter Princess Irene did so on a few occasions in her younger years, and the halo effect created by the side motifs worked well with her of-the-moment hairstyle.
Video, above: Queen Frederika wearing the necklace with sapphire pendant
Irene was the last person (to my knowledge) to be seen using the necklace as a tiara, and it has disappeared from public view. The sapphire also disappeared, only to resurface in a Christie's auction in 2003, where it was listed as the property of a noble family and sold for $1,482,089. It is one of the largest cut sapphires in existence.

Which would you pick: Tiara form, necklace form, or take-the-sapphire-and-run form?

Photos: Flickr/DR/Christie's