Owned by Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent, (one of the most glamorous members of the British Royal Family), these Girandole earrings were worn at some of the grandest events in the middle of the 20th century. The earrings were also worn by the current Duchess, but were sold in the 1970s in lieu of death duties. They reappeared at Auction in 2000.
This pair of diamond ear pendants has a detachable pear-shaped diamond pendant set within old mine-cut diamond surround with similar articulated pendants on either side to the scrolled diamond surmount and detachable cluster top, mounted in silver and gold ca 1780. it is suggested that the Girandole earrings originally came from the collection of Grand Duchess Vladimir.
A granddaughter of the famous Grand Duchess Vladimir, Princess Marina was married to the Duke of Kent (an uncle of Queen Elisabeth II) for eight years until his tragic death in 1942. She received these Girandole earrings as a wedding gift from her mother, Princess Nicholas of Greece, and wore them to many official events including the Coronations of 1937 and 1953. She also wore the earrings for portraits by famous photographer Cecil Beaton.
After Princess Marina’s death in 1968, the earrings were inherited by her son, the Duke of Kent, and worn by his wife, Katherine. She wore the Girandole earrings to official events, in a portrait, and at a State Opening of Parliament, often with the Kent Pearl Fringe tiara. The earrings were sold in the 1970s to pay for the inheritance tax after the death of Princess Marina. In 2000, the Girandole earrings were auctioned at Christie’s with four of the larger diamonds replaced with imitations.
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