It is possible that the present brooch was received as a gift during the state visit of Nicholas II to Sweden in 1909. The state visit of the tsar and his family was not only a courtesy visit to a country with which the Russian empire shared friendly relations, but it was also a return visit. The previous year, the Swedish royal family had traveled to Tsarskoe Selo for the wedding of Prince Vilhelm and Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna the younger.
Among the numerous and varied gifts given during the state visit were four brooches (see U. Tillander-Godenhielm, The Russian Imperial Award System during the Reign of Nicolas II, 1894-1917, Helsinki, 2005, p. 484). The most elaborate of these, presented to Mlle Rinman, matron of the household of the Stockholm palace, is fully documented (see U. Tillander-Godenhielm, op cit, p. 349, plate 145). The other three brooches were presented to staff members, one of which, presented to 'NN', chamber maid of the queen, is listed with its cost (40 r.). This could well be the original cost of the present brooch.
We are grateful to Ulla Tillander-Godenhielm for her assistance researching this lot.