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RARE AQUAMARINE AND DIAMOND TIARA, FABERGÉ
On lots marked with an + in the catalogue, VAT wil… Read more FORMERLY THE PROPERTY OF GRAND DUCHESS ALEXANDRA OF MECKLENBURG-SCHWERIN
RARE AQUAMARINE AND DIAMOND TIARA, FABERGÉ

Details
RARE AQUAMARINE AND DIAMOND TIARA, FABERGÉ
Nine graduated pear-shaped aquamarines, old, cushion and rose-cut diamonds, 1904, inner circumference 29.0 cm, unsigned, scratch no. 73828
Provenance
Grand Duchess Alexandra of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, born Princess Alexandra of Hanover and Cumberland (1882-1963)
Thence by descent
Literature
Solodkoff A. von, ‘Fashion and Jewellery in St. Petersburg around 1900. The Use of Aquamarine by Fabergé, His Parure for Grand Duchess Elisabeth, and the Discovery of a Commission from Fabergé for an Aquamarine Tiara in 1904’, Russian Jewellery Art of the 19th and Early 20th Centuries in a Global Context, Fabergé Museum in St. Petersburg, November, 2017/ The Link of Times Cultural and Historical Foundation, collection of articles edited by Marina Lopato and Karina Pronitcheva. p. 28–33

Erinnerungsblätter der Festwoche, 5.-11. Juli 1904 zu Schwerin i. M.
Special Notice

On lots marked with an + in the catalogue, VAT will be charged at 7.7% on both the premium as well as the hammer price.

Lot Essay

This tiara was a wedding gift from Frederick Francis IV, Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin to his bride Princess Alexandra of Hanover and Cumberland. His mother Grand Duchess Anastasia Mikhailovna of Russia, a keen Fabergé collector, encouraged the Grand Duke to marry young and the wedding was scheduled for June 1904 when Frederick was 22 years old and Alexandra, 21.

Before the wedding, correspondence between Eugène Fabergé and the Grand Ducal Cabinet of Mecklenburg-Schwerin revealed deliberations on a commission of an important jewel. One of the letters dated 10 May discussed the possibilities that could be offered: ‘a diamond tiara’ for 10’000 roubles or ‘an aquamarine and diamond tiara’ for 7’500 roubles, and that only using aquamarines as gemstones was not possible. Another letter referred to drawings with designs Fabergé proposed for the top section of the tiara. However, these drawings went missing. Fabergé expressed concerns that he held no copies himself and did not know which design appealed to the Grand Duke.

Two weeks before the marriage Fabergé wrote to the Grand Ducal Cabinet that he was yet to receive any instructions to proceed. For a second time he asked for the return of the drawings as he could not advance his work without them. A subsequent letter referred to the completion date of 7 June as requested by the Grand Duke by which Fabergé declared that it was impossible to execute the commission in such a short time. The jeweller suggested another tiara that was held in reserve for the Grand Duchess Anastasia herself or alternatively, he could produce a drawing that would be presented on the day. The object itself would be delivered after completion as he had done on previous occasions.

On 7 June 1904 the day of the wedding, Princess Alexandra wore the traditional Hanoverian nuptial crown. The diamond-set coronet that had been in her family for more than a century was commissioned in 1761 for the wedding of King George III of England and Queen Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. Her own special wedding gift from the Grand Duke was to follow a month later. During the Court Ball organized by the city of Schwerin on 8 July, Princess Alexandra was recorded wearing a pink silk dress with pearl necklaces and an aquamarine tiara. This elegant headpiece, adorned with forget-me-not flowers and cupid’s arrows, represents a wonderful opportunity for collectors to acquire a jewel which was at one time in history an emblematic token of love.

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