23 July 2015

Tiara Thursday: The Hesketh Aquamarine Tiara

The Hesketh Aquamarine Tiara
I think aquamarine stones do particularly well in kokoshnik-style tiaras (exhibit 1, exhibit 2), and this tiara plays on that theme by using an interesting combination of aquamarine shapes, including hexagon and oval cuts. The pale sea blue gems are arranged in graduated oval clusters that are spaced around the tiara by myrtle leaf designs and rows of diamonds in millegrain borders. Extra stones adorn the top of the central cluster in a rather pineapple-y arrangement. It was labeled Belle Époque and dated circa 1910 at auction; later, at an exhibit, it was attributed to Cartier London and dated from 1930.
Prior to the aforementioned auction, the tiara was in the collection of Christian, Lady Hesketh (1929-2006). The daughter of a Scottish baronet, Christian Mary "Kisty" McEwen married Freddy Fermor-Hesketh, the 2nd Lord Hesketh, at the age of 20 in 1949. She was widowed just a few years later and was left with three young sons (a fourth was stillborn not long after her husband's death). An accomplished historian and society hostess, among other things, her life was marked by several tragedies - including a car accident that left her in a coma for six weeks and caused her to lose an eye - but she remained known for her wit and her spirit throughout.
The Dowager Lady Hesketh passed way in 2006. Items from her estate were eventually auctioned, and her aquamarine tiara sold at Sotheby's in 2007 for $98,168. In 2014, the tiara appeared as part of the exhibit Cartier: Style and History (you can see it on the display in this video), where it was listed as part of the collection of the Qatar Museums Authority. The organization does loan their treasures for exhibition regularly, so the opportunity to see this one in person may arise again in the future. All things considered, it's probably the most visible place for the tiara to be.

Does this make your list of favorite aquamarine tiaras?

Photos: Sotheby's, via Getty Images