26 February 2015

Tiara Thursday: The Barberini Sapphire Tiara

The Barberini Sapphire Tiara
So many of the sapphire tiaras we know today are fairly symmetrical, even architectural, in their design, so an asymmetrical floral option makes for a refreshing change of pace. Joining other sapphire floral tiaras such as the Ogilvy Tiara, the Barberini Sapphire Tiara features a flowering wreath design. A rose-cut diamond branch is the base for old-cut diamond flowers with an oval collet sapphire at the center of each, and more sapphires are scattered along the branch. The stones are mounted in silver and gold, and the tiara dates from around 1850.
Other pieces in the set
The tiara is part of a parure that includes a necklace, brooch, and girandole earrings. The accompanying pieces are also notable for their commitment to the floral theme, when many parures might opt for a simpler design for the rest of the set. These were among the jewels that belonged to the Barberini family, an old Italian noble family that counts a pope among its ancestors (Pope Urban VIII) and who gave their name to the Palazzo Barberini in Rome, today the location of the National Gallery of Ancient Art.
The tiara is modeled before its most recent auction
These particular pieces are known to us via their history of auctions, rather than their former owners. The jewels were first sold by Christie’s as a parure in 1971 for $18,850. They were sold again, this time as four separate pieces, in 2009, and brought in close to $250,000 all together ($100,144 for the tiara alone). Floral tiaras are not my favorite overall, but this one does have a charm that makes me wish I’d had the checkbook power to scoop these up.

Sapphires in your floral tiaras, yes or no?

Photos: Christie's / Marco Secchi via Getty Images