Queen Marie’s Diamond Sautoir

After the death of Queen Anne of Romania recently, we decided to do a post on one of her most glittering jewels, which was worn only once. Queen Marie’s Diamond Sautoir is composed of square links connected by diamond chain like links was designed by Cartier in 1919. Originally, the piece featured a 478.68 carat sapphire as a pendent, which was later replaced by a diamond pendent.

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The diamond sautoir was bought by King Ferdinand of Romania for his consort, Queen Marie, in 1922. She wore it to her coronation held the same year, as well as in a painting by Sir Philip de Lazlo in 1924, and continued to wear the sautoir until her death in 1938, often with the brilliant Vladimir sapphire Kokoshnik Tiara. Both jewels were bought to replace the jewelry Queen Marie had sent to Russia for safekeeping during WWI, that were seized by the Bolsheviks and never recovered. Queen Marie was a fascinating personality. One of the many granddaughters of Queen Victoria of Great Britain who married a monarch, she was a dramatic person who dressed in caftans and turbans, was the first royal to write her autobiography, and was the key figure in securing Transylvania for Romania after WWI. She is still fondly remembered in Romania for her eccentricity and theatrical personalty.

The sautoir was inherited by Queen Marie’s grandson, King Michael, upon her death in 1938. Her son, Michael’s father, had a turbulent reign marked by scandal and political troubles. He was forced to abdicate by the government. King Michael gave his mother the title of Queen Mother, despite her having been divorced before her husband became king. Queen Mother Helen (nee. Princess Helen of Greece) was also given use of the diamond sautoir, along with the relatively few remaining Romanian royal jewels. Queen Mother Helen wore the sautoir in the 1940s with a diamond pendent. The enormous sapphire had been sold to Harry Winston and later appeared on Helen’s sister-in-law, Queen Fredrika of Greece.

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When King Michael married Princess Anne of Bourbon Parma in 1948, the bride wore the Romanian diamond sautoir with the diamond pendent. King Michael had been recently exiled from Romania and the new Queen didn’t have a chance to wear the sautoir again. Ashdean on RJWMB once related a story told to him by Hans Nadelhoffer (the author of a book on Cartier), about when he asked Queen Anne about the sautoir during a party at her home, that she replied she had no idea about its current whereabouts. Later, when she took him upstairs to look at a piece, he found pieces of the sautoir at the bottom of her jewelry box. It is unknown if the pieces of the sautoir are still owned by King Michael.


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