Emperor Christian Victor I

Emperor Christian Victor I

Monday, 18 June 2012

Tiaras and Trinkets on Tuesdays (The Alexander III Sapphire Parure)

We are still on the topic of sapphires this week. Next week we will start a short series on the third gem in the top 5 major gems, namely emeralds. Today's set of jewellery has had a strange story by virtue of provenance and history. Let's all keep our heads as we follow the interesting path blazed by the Alexander III Sapphire Parure. 

Tzar Alexander III of Ruskiana is the long deceased  great-great grandfather of Grand Duchess Xenia Alexandrovna the current pretender to the Ruskian throne. His was a title and court also in pretense as his brother was the last real Tzar of Ruskiana. Tzar Ivan X and his family were killed by rebels during the aftermath of the Great War. Alexander III succeeded him but was never crowned. He in turn was killed while fleeing the country a few months later with his young family. His son and heir and the rest were saved by Tzar Alexander giving his life in order to create a diversion for the pursuing rebels. Many pieces of family jewels also survived this escape one of which was the Parure of Sapphires that Alexander ordered for his wife in the heyday of the Ruskian Imperial Court. The full parure employed the then very modern stone cut called "baguette cut" for the sapphires. These rectangular sapphires were accented by very large round cut diamonds. Legend has it that the necklace saved the life of Grand Duchess Xenia's grandfather Nicholas who was a young boy at the time. The necklace was sown into the lining of his jacket and a bullet from the rebels ricochet off it as they shot at the fleeing limousine.

Her Imperial Majesty Tzarina Feodorovna, wife of Tzar Alexander III wearing the sapphires in this state portrait from before the Great War.

This is where the story becomes interesting, as if it isn't enough so already. The tiara passed to Nicholas II who had become Tzar d'jour in exile. He left it to his son, who was murdered in the Bloody Revolution of 1996 while living in exile in the Empire of Scot Britania. As the father of Xenia he left the tiara and the remaining jewels to her and her sister who escaped with their lives to South Americania. Wisely the entire collection of jewels was all kept in a safety deposit box in the Big Apple in Americania.

Grand Duchess Xenia wears the tiara here in 2009 combined with diamond jewellery from the Ruskian Imperial Collection.

The necklace passed to Tzar Nicholas II's younger sister Grand Duchess Anna, who left it to her daughter who married the last King of Serbieski. They left it to their son who let his wife wear it on her wedding day as "something blue". We know the couple today as the mediatized Grand Duke and Grand Duchess of Serbieski in the restored Kingdom of Syldavia.

Lady Davina Cartwright wears the necklace on the day of her marriage to the Prince Karageorgevich who became the Grand Duke of Serbieski.

The earrings passed to the youngest daughter of Alexander III, Grand Duchess Tatiana. Please remember that there was a vast amount of other jewels to be inherited, so the youngest wasn't short changed. For some reason, perhaps for luck, as sapphires are seen as a blessed gem symbolically, the parure was split between the siblings. Tatiana however was not as lucky as the sapphires should have made her. During a brief affair with the philandering Crown Prince Victor of Britania she lost the earrings in a card game to her lover. This was the same Prince who eventually abdicated the throne to marry a divorcee. In malice for leaving him, he officially entered the earrings into the Crown Jewel Collection of Britannia rather than returning it to her. He knew that when a piece of jewellery is added to the collection, by law it may never be removed. She never forgave him and the controversial earrings are still part of that collection which became the Imperial Crown Jewel Collection of the United Empire of Scot-Britania. Those jewels are in trust for the Crown Prince Imperial and his descendants and as such may never be sold.

Royals gather for the massive official Royal Family Portrait in 2011. In the front right we can see the Crown Princess Imperial wearing the earrings as part of the spectacular Imperial Britanian Sapphires.

This is not where the story ends however. In the early days of 2012, the Prince Karageorgevich received the confirmation of the restoration of the Kingdom of Syldavia and his assumption of the title of Grand Duke of Serbieski. To raise much needed cash to fund various obligations towards these events he sold the necklace. The private sale took place in April and the buyer was none other than Grand Duchess Xenia of Ruskiana. The necklace has returned to its tiara albeit not to its homeland as yet. There is little to no hope that the earrings will ever return unfortunately.

Grand Duchess Xenia wore the set to the Annual Knight's Meeting last week. It was a historic moment and poignantly spoke of  the subtleties that any restoration has on the heart of man.

I for one am glad that this set has been at least nominally restored and that the earrings are not entirely lost to history, like many other grand pieces are.


  1. Hello from Spain: it is a pity they can not recover the earrings. At least she has in her collection the collar. Princess Xenia is very pretty with long earrings. Keep in touch.

    1. The easiest way this collection could be whole again was if by some miracle, Grand duchess Xenia parted with it and it ended up with the Crown Prince Imperial. We have seen how these pieces can travel so you never know.

  2. Tatian and Victor... interesting story showing just how 'low' can one go when driven by spite and revenge! Even these noble characters have flaws and are prey to the vices of the 'flesh' - or perhaps 'passion and lust' are better terms.
    But there is ALWAYS a price to pay... consequences! In this case, the sapphire earings... :-( Well... at least they haven't been destroyed... who knows... isn't it all about restoration...??

    1. Yes, who know? The only one who knows is the author and finisher of the story.