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A MAGNIFICENT ANTIQUE DIAMOND TIARA, BY FABERGE Designed as a series of graduated old-cut diamond arches with knife edge collet spacers, the central pear-shaped diamond flanked by three briolette and one old-cut diamond, each with diamond collet and leaf surmount to the foliate band, on gold wire frame, mounted in silver and gold, circa 1890, 13.2 cm. wide, with Russian assay marks for gold Maker's mark for August Holmström on frame
Queen Maria José inherited the tiara from her brother Prince Charles Theodore (1903 -1983)
In his will, this exceptional jewel is referred to as 'The Empress Josephine Tiara' on account of the fact that the briolette-cut diamonds in the tiara were a gift from Tsar Alexander I of Russia to the Empress Josephine. The Tsar used to bring presents for Josephine when he visited her at La Malmaison, following her divorce from Napoleon

It was purchased after the First World War in Switzerland by the King of Belgium from the collection of the Dukes of Leuchtenberg, a title first granted to Eugene de Beauharnais, son of the Empress Josephine, and adopted son of Napoleon, on the occasion of his marriage to Princess Augusta Amalia, daughter of King Maximilian of Bavaria. Their youngest child, Prince Maximilian Joseph married in 1839 Grand Duchess Maria Nikolaevna of Russia, eldest daughter of Tsar Nicholas I.

Special Notice

VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price and at 15% on the buyer's premium

Lot Essay

Cf. Geoffrey C. Munn, Tiaras a History of Splendour, The Antique Collectors' Club, 2001, Frontispiece
'...A remarkable group of Fabergé tiaras. Jewellery by the famous Russian goldsmith is rare and his tiaras are rarer still. A photograph of three together is unprecedented...' (Wartski, London)

August Holmström (1829-1903) was responsible for some of Fabergé's greatest jewels. He completed his apprenticeship in 1850 and joined Gustav Fabergé's workshop as chief jeweller in 1857 and was made workmaster in 1870. August and his son Albert, who succeeded him after his death in 1903, were known for their fine work with diamonds. They crafted jewels of the finest quality and produced most of Fabergé's jewellery.

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