Duchess of Alba’s Tiaras

Happy Birthday to the Duke of Alba, who turns 70 today! The Head of the five centuries-old House of Alba, the Duke is the eldest son of the late 18th Duchess of Alba, who was the most titled aristocrat in the world. To mark the Duke’s Birthday, ahead of the wedding of his Heir later this week, we are taking a look at the Duchess of Alba’s Tiaras-

Ducal Coronet

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A Spanish Ducal Coronet, this Emerald and Diamond Piece features eight strawberry leafs on a pearl and diamond base, which has been in the family since the mid 19th century, and was worn by 16th and 17th Duchesses of Alba before appearing on the infamous 18th Duchess, who wore the piece frequently throughout her life, for Portraits, Balls, and Weddings.

Empress Eugénie’s Pearl Tiara

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For #tiaratuesday let us all admire the Alba Wedding Tiara. Seven inverted poiré pearls top seven diamond loops fashioned in the shape of laurels, these alternate with detailed floral spikes, each culminating in a large diamond. The base is a chain of lover’s knots and forget-me-nots. The frame is platinum. ✨✨✨ It originally belonged to Empress Eugénie of France. Eugénie was Spanish born, and her sister, Maria Francisca, married the Duke of Alba, a descendant of James II of England via his mistress, Arabella Churchill. The tiara passed to Maria Francisca's great- granddaughter, the Duchess of Alba…Doña María del Rosario Cayetana Fitz-James Stuart y de Silva, 18th Duchess of Alba de Tormes, Grandee of Spain (28 March 1926 – 20 November 2014), was head of the House of Alba and the third woman to hold the title in her own right. She wore the Alba Wedding Tiara for her first marriage in 1947. Her daughter the Duchess of Montoro, wore it on her wedding day in 1998. Only a daughter of the House of Alba may wear it. #tiara #weddingtiara #diamondtiara #diamonds #pearls #spanishjewels #duchessofalba #empresseugenie #royaljewels

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Originating from Empress Eugenie of France, a sister of a previous Duchess of Alba, the Pearl and Diamond Tiara features poiré pearls atop seven diamond loops fashioned in the shape of laurels, alternated with floral spikes. The piece was worn by the 18th Duchess at her first wedding in 1947, and at a couple of grand events, including the Imperial Ball in New York in 1959. In 1998, Empress Eugénie’s Pearl Tiara was worn by the Duchess’ only daughter, Eugenia, the 12th Duchess of Montoro at her wedding to Bullfighter Francisco Rivera Ordóñez. The Tiara now belongs to the Duchess of Montoro.

‘La Rusa’ Tiara

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De la tzarine Maria Feodorovna (à qui elle a peut-être appartenu) jusqu’au joaillier newyorkais Joseph Saidian & Sons, en passant par les collections de Cayetana (la célèbre 18e duchesse d’Albe), cette tiare a une histoire rocambolesque ! Appelée « La Rusa », ce bijou nous évoque la Russie des derniers Romanov par sa forme traditionnelle « kokoshnik », mais aussi par ce goût du platine et des diamants, typique de l’ère 1900. _____________________________________ From Czarina Maria Feodorovna (to whom she may have belonged) to New York jeweler Joseph Saidian & Sons, passing by the collections of Cayetana (the famous 18th Duchess of Alba), this tiara has an incredible history! Called “La Rusa”, this jewel evokes the last Romanovs Russia by its traditional “kokoshnik” form, but also by the platinum and diamond trend, typical of the 1900 era. #bijou #jewelry #joaillerie #Russie #Russia #MariaFeodorovna #tzarine #czarina #kokoshnik #tiare #tiara #Romanov #Romanovs #1900 #Cayetana #DuchesseDAlbe #DuchessOfAlba #DuquesaDeAlba #Alba #NewYork #NewYorkCity #JosephSaidianAndSons #rare #MuseumPiece

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An Interesting tiara for a very interesting woman, this piece was named La Rusa “Russian” because of it’s Russian shape, that of a kokoshnik. The Duchess has said it came from Empress Maria Feodorovna, but there are no records to prove that theory. Made of diamonds set in platinum, the large tiara has a geometric motif that kind of resembles a spider web to me. For the Duchess it was an important wedding tiara, although Princess Maria of Hohenlohe-Langenburg who married the Duchess’s son, Alfonso did not feel the same way (both daughters-in-law wearing the tiara on their wedding days on the last post.) She eventually relented and wore it but it didn’t make for a happy Christmas in years to come. But Matilde Solis who married her son, Carlos relieved the Duchess’s fears when she happily wore the tiara to her wedding in 1988. I guess the Duchess decided she didn’t need so many tiaras and sold it to buy her son a horse for his equestrian career, but last year the tiara reemerged at jeweler Joseph Saidian and Sons and they said the family has not made any attempts to reclaim the piece. I guess it’s as well; maybe another royal will have the funds to buy it and actually use it. We will have to wait and see! #antique #atiaraaday #diamonds #history #jewelry #monarchy #duchessofalba #royalty #royaljewels #tiara #heirloom #platinum #larusatiara

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The Duchess of Alba owned a Diamond Kokoshnik Tiara, known as ‘La Rusa’, which she inherited from her maternal grandmother, the Duchess of Híjar and Aliaga, which she claimed came from Empress Marie Feodorovna of Russia. The piece was worn by brides that married into the family, including a reluctant Princess María of Hohenlohe-Langenburg when she married the Duchess’ second son, the Duke of Hijar, in  1977, and by Matilde Solís when she married the current Duke of Alba. Later, the Tiara was sold by the Duchess to buy a horse for her son, the Duke of Arjona, and despite appearing for sale in recent years, has not been reacquired by the family.


3 thoughts on “Duchess of Alba’s Tiaras

  1. Oh, how I hope that the bride gets to wear Empress Eugenie’s beautiful diamond and pearl tiara! None of her sons’ brides got to wear it, only the Duchess and her daughter Eugenia. I don’t know if the Duchess didn’t think they should wear it and instead offered them La Rusa, but now that her son is the Duke things might change. The Coronet is beautiful in its magnificence, but somehow I don’t see it as a wedding tiara. Maybe because of the emeralds? I don’t know. But what I do know is that the Diamond and Pearl tiara is exquisite and should be given an opportunity to shine again! 🙂

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