27 October 2016

Tiara Thursday: The Fouquet Aquamarine Tiara

The Fouquet Aquamarine Tiara
Georges Fouquet (1862 – 1957) was a member of a French family of jewelers, and a man distinguished as a master jeweler particularly for his work with Art Nouveau designs. He was also a big fan of aquamarine stones, and in 1908, he created the pieces that form this tiara.

These five graduated floral motifs are separate brooches with large cushion shaped Siberian aquamarines surrounded by arches of rose and circular-cut diamonds forming petals. The petals are accented with natural pearls. There was an original tiara design of kokoshnik form to house the brooches (above, or here); the current format, with all five standing upright on a utilitarian band as shown at the top of this post, is a later setting.

The Duchess of Kent wears the tiara in 1991
The later setting was already in place when this tiara popped up on the royal scene, worn by the Duchess of Kent. She wore it on only a couple of occasions in the 1990s, using it alongside the Kent Diamond and Pearl Fringe Tiara and the smaller version of the Cambridge Sapphire Parure Tiara which were also in her collection at the time.

The tiara was worn to the State Opening of Parliament in 2013 (bottom right corner)
As spotted by commenter Jelena over at the Jewel Vault, it can be seen in this video starting around 12:32.
The tiara was later worn by an unidentified woman attending the State Opening of Parliament in 2013, so it is unclear when it left the Kents' possession. In 2014, the tiara was sold by Sotheby's at a November auction, where it brought in $204,500.

The brooches, detached
Incorporating larger aquamarine stones into tiaras has been attempted multiple times (the Brazilian Aquamarine Tiara, the Swedish Aquamarine Kokoshnik, the Russian Aquamarine Kokoshnik, and so on) and it seems to be a tricky task to accomplish successfully. Juxtaposing the solid stones with the airy petals around them is an interesting idea, but I can't help but find the flower effect too sweet, too twee - something highlighted by the button style of the current tiara. Cast my vote for brooches only.

As a tiara or as brooches, which do you prefer?