Today marks the Anniversary of the Death of Queen Elisabeth of Romania, who died on this day in 1916. Born a Princess of Wied, she became the first Queen Consort of Romania, and was an artistic figure widely known by her literary name of Carmen Sylva. To mark the Anniversary, we are taking a look at the Romanian Massin Tiara-
In 1869, the Romania Aristocratic Ladies Association gave this grand diamond and pearl tiara, featuring 16 large upright pearls, made by Oscar Massin, as a wedding gift to Princess Elisabeth of Wied, when she married Prince Carol of Romania, who became King in 1881. The Tiara was worn for a variety of portraits until the 1880s, when the Queen largely retired to purse her her writing.
King Carol and Queen Elisabeth had no surviving children, so his heir was his nephew, Prince Ferdinand, who had married Princess Marie of Edinburgh, a granddaughter of Queen Victoria. In the 1900s and the 1910s, the Massin Tiara was worn exclusively by Crown Princess later Queen Marie, for a variety of portraits, and was her only Romanian heirloom, the rest having been given as wedding gifts from her British and Romanov relatives. At the start of the First World War, Queen Marie sent all of her jewellery to Russia for safekeeping, and they were not returned by the Soviets following the Bolshevik Revolution. While there have been recent demands for their return by Romanian Authorities, Queen Marie’s jewellery, and this Tiara, presumably remain in Moscow. After the war, she replenished her collection with the Vladimir Sapphire Kokoshnik and a Pearl Tiara among others.