Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Luxarazzi 101: Queen Victoria Eugenia's Aquamarine Tiara

Photos: Getty Images
For the pre-wedding gala dinner of the hereditary grand ducal couple, the groom's aunt Princess Sibilla brought out one, if not the biggest suprise of the evening: Queen Victoria Eugenia's Aquamarine Tiara.

This tiara was once owned by Queen Victoria Eugenia of Spain, hence its name. A born Princess of Battenberg and granddaughter of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom, she married King Alfonso XIII of Spain in 1906. Rumour has it, that the Queen, who was also known by her nickname Ena, had seen a similar tiara and dropped a few hints to her husband. [Oh, don't we all wish for someone who we can drop a few tiara hints to?!...]
Queen Ena
The tiara, that was purchased by King Alfonso XIII from Spanish jeweller Ansorena, has undergone quite a transformation over the last 100 years or so. In it's first setting, it did not even include aquamarines, but instead drop pearls. (Above left.) Some time after that, Queen Ena decided to change the tiara to accommodate Brazilian aquamarines. (Above right.)

Queen Victoria Eugenia eventually gave the tiara to her oldest daughter Infanta Beatriz, who married Alessandro Torlonia, Prince of Civitella-Cesi, in 1935, which brings us slowly but steadily to how it ended up on Princess Sibilla's head.

It was Infanta Beatriz who brought the tiara in the setting that we know today: interlocking circles with dangling aquamarine briolettes, allegedly because the tiara in its original setting was too fragile to include the new aquamarine stones. The design resembles that of the Grand Duchess Vladimir Tiara, owned by the British royal family, though bigger and thus with more room for the aquamarines.

Infanta Beatriz, who died in 2002, left the tiara and the whole parure - consisting of an enormous necklace, a bracelet, earrings, a ring and a stomacher - to her two daughters, Sandra, who was the wife of the late Count Clemente Lecquio di Assaba and Olimpia, who was married to the late Paul-Annik Weiller. Both ladies have worn the tiara and/or parts of the parure on different occassions.

Earlier this year, a Spanish publication wrote that King Juan Carlos of Spain had approched the Torlonia sisters asking whether he could buy the parure back to give it to his wife, Queen Sofia, as a present for their 50th wedding anniversary. Though I personally did not believe the story due to various reasons, rumours went wild but thankfully Princess Sibilla put a definite stop to them by wearing the tiara, the stomacher and the earrings.

In case the name Weiller in connection with Donna Olimpia Torlonia di Civitella-Cesi did not already ring a bell for you: Princess Sibilla was born Sibilla Weiller and is one of the six children of Donna Olimpia and the late mega-rich businessman Paul-Annik Weiller. Sometime around or after Sibilla's wedding, that was lavishly celebrated with some 1,300 guests at Versailles, to Grand Duke Jean and Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte's youngest son, Prince Guillaume, her father actually got her another tiara: an art deco piece made of diamonds that was worn by her sister-in-law Countess Diane de Nassau at the pre-wedding dinner.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this post, it is a completely wonderful tiara and the whole shebang - ring, necklace, earrings - together must be stunning. Sibilla really wore it all so well. I also don't believe the King Juan Carlos story, not least that if a BRACELET belonging to Queen Victoria Eugenia was recently sold for $3million plus, then can you just imagine how much the aquamarines might fetch....