Emperor Christian Victor I

Emperor Christian Victor I

Monday, 12 May 2014

Tiaras and Trinkets on Tuesday (Tiaras that have been permanently altered)

Even though many Royal jewels come with histories sometimes documented for literal centuries, these jewellery pieces sometimes do come to the end of their lives. There are many reasons for changing a piece of jewellery. Sometime its age is so great that the wear has left it in tatters. Inheritance might require a single piece to be split into equal parts for sale due to ready cash required for tax. The more common reason however is purely practical as old fashioned pieces might be too big or just doesn't suit or literally fit the "new" owner by inheritance. Then the piece is just practically altered sometimes with obvious visual difference in appearance or at othertimes remade to copy the original design.

Let's begin our record of the most majorly altered historic pieces of Royal jewels. 

The famous D' Pont Du Lac Emerald Parure has been discussed at length before on this blog. However it is the prime candidate in this spot on our blog. The full parure of which only the sketch above remains as evidence of its grandeur was altered significantly after its sale to Empress Crystobel in the early 90's

The D' Pont Du Lac Emerald Parure was broken up and made into no less than three new parures. The main set, pictured above, is strongly reminiscent of the original lacking the brooch, two bracelets and all the drop pearls. It became know as the Greater D' Pont Du Lac Emerald Parure and remains in that form with the Crown Prince Imperial.

The drop pearls were combined into a set of its own. A rather modest set at first using some of the original diamonds left from the tiara looking lightweight with negative space in between the diamonds at the base of each pearl. Thus this set underwent a second transformation a short while later. 

Extra diamonds were added at the expense of the Crown Prince Imperial to fill in some gaps leaving the tiara with a more solid look and more appropriate to wear for a member of an Imperial Dynasty.

The remaining smaller emeralds from the original parure was done up in yet another parure but with a far less imposing look, meant to be worn in that context to less formal events. This set was sold after Empress Crystobel's death to the original owners the D'Rothchild Family. 

The Hispanian Royal Collection has in its vaults another famous historical tiara that has been altered extensively. Seen above the tiara is shown in its original state set entirely with diamonds as it was made for the wife of King Carlos X. Later Queen Ezperanza decided to have the central diamonds replaced by rubies to match a set of earrings and necklace she already owned. 

Today the tiara is often worn with the rest of the rubies in what has become a generally accepted parure and recently a new sleek necklace has also been added. The single strand necklace gives the entire set a more modern feel. 

Recently the Duchess of Argyle decided to alter a tiara from her personal Dysart Family Collection. She felt the tiara was too spiky and also not grand enough for her upgrade from a Countess to a Duchess after her marriage to the Duke of Argyle. In this photo we see the Dysart Amethyst Tiara in its original "spiky" form. 

A gallery of pearls was added to run like an undulating bridge across the top of the spikes giving the tiara the look of a Ruskian kokoshnik and significantly boosting the tiara's size and awe factor. 

Queen Maria of Hispania's mother has entirely retired from public duties and is rarely if ever seen at Royal events. At a charity event in 2010 she bequeathed this tiara to raise funds for the particular charity. The tiara being the Dowager Princess of Cataljone's personal property was then sold privately and the funds donated toward the plight of orphans in Africania. It was seen as a poetic gesture as all the diamonds used in the piece are of Africanian origin. 

The very wealthy Duchess of Aragon was the lucky purchaser of the Royal tiara but did feel to personalize it by making a small but permanent alteration. She swapped the central diamond for a sapphire in order for her to realize a personal dream of owning a grand and Royal sapphire tiara to match the rest of the Aragon sapphires. The Duchess wore her dream set for the first time to her induction as a Knight of the Triad in 2014. 

The Roswind Ducal Family own what is considered the Roswind signature tiara but this piece has been extensively altered at least three times. Even though it has seen many incarnations and its many forms has displayed a very clear design continuity making it a phenomenon of historic jewellery and the designer's art. In the old and blurry photo above we see the tiara in its original form almost resembling a small coronet with the signature cross with central red stone at the center. The tiara is made of gold, diamonds rubies and pearls.

The tiara was then altered from its crown-like appearance to a sleeker and more tiara-like "fan" shape. It does still very clearly tip the hat to Royal symbolism with the cross and ruby taking center stage. 

In 2013 the current Duchess decided to have the tiara display her Royal heritage on a level she thought it deserved and altered the tiara to regain its crown configuration but enlarged it to a scale slightly beyond its original size. The jewellery designer took it to the max without it becoming gaudy and the result on the Duchess'wedding day was not only spectacular but complimented her and her lineage perfectly. 

We hope this post was informative and entertaining and also that it sheds some light on some of the behind-the-scenes effort that goes into historic jewellery collections.


  1. Fab post... I need a diamond tiara!

    1. Order one for US$350 https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=105509389504783&set=a.101356669920055.1077.100001371662043&type=3&theater

  2. Hello from Spain: Stunning jewelery collection. Very nice. Keep in touch

  3. Que preciosidad de joyas y que bien lo lucen todas estas princesassss, besosss