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Love This Antique Tiara? Go Ahead—Try It On (I Did!)


The Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels sale being hosted by Sotheby’s Geneva may be over a month away, but its headliner—a natural pearl and diamond tiara with royal provenance—is already making the rounds. Virtually, that is, via a fun Instagram filter accessible on @Sothebys and @SothebysJewels that enables followers to try on the tiara and capture a picture of themselves wearing it.

Steeped in the history of the House of Savoy, which is among the world’s oldest European royal families, the jewel is purported to be one of the most important tiaras to appear on the market in recent years. The estimate: $1 million to $1.5 million.

Amy in Sothebys tiara
Yasss queen! Here’s yours truly modeling the tiara via Sotheby’s Instagram thingy. I didn’t quite capture the splendor of the virtual 360-degree background of Palazzina di Caccia di Stupinigi near Turin, Italy (formerly a royal hunting lodge for the House of Savoy), which has chandeliers, mirrors, and a painted ceiling—these elements will certainly add drama to one’s princess portrait! 

Dating to the second half of the 19th century, the tiara was passed down through generations of the royal family of Italy. Likely to have been presented to Princess Maria Vittoria dal Pozzo as a wedding gift on the occasion of her marriage to Prince Amedeo of Savoy, Duke of Aosta, later King of Spain, in 1867, the tiara is believed to have been created by Musy Padre e Figli, court jeweler of Turin and one of the oldest goldsmiths in Europe.

Sothebys royal tiara in-natural pearl and diamonds
Composed of graduated scroll motifs set with cushion-shape, circular- and single-cut diamonds, framing 11 slightly baroque drop-shape natural pearls, the tiara converts to an elegant necklace.

The tiara’s debut coincides with an “unprecedented global demand for antique tiaras,” according to the auction house, which reports that 96% of the tiaras offered in Sotheby’s auctions found a buyer, with 83% of them achieving prices above their high estimate (and very often selling for many multiples of their estimates).

And if the trend continues once this latest tiara, worn by royalty (and legions of #jewelryaddicts), hits the block in May? I’d call that a crowning achievement.

Top: “The tiara we have the privilege to present in Geneva in May encapsulates all the pomp, power, and presence associated with royal jewels, and with an option to be worn as a necklace, the versatility of this beautiful jewel will undoubtedly make it a very covetable piece for many collectors,” said Benoit Repellin, head of Sotheby’s Geneva Magnificent Jewels auction, in a statement. The sale is scheduled to take place on May 11 at 10 a.m. ET. (Tiara photos courtesy of Sotheby’s)




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By: Amy Elliott

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