The magnificent Savoy Aosta Knot and Star Tiara is a sparkler that has graced the heads of the illustrious Duchess of the Aosta branch of the Italian Royal Family over the past 125 years, and continues to be a prominent family Heirloom.
Made by the celebrated jeweller Musy in 1895, the original Tiara featured a base of Savoy knots, topped with alternating diamond sprays and stars. The piece is very flexible, and can be worn with just the diamond stars, another configuration features the Savoy knot base topped with cabochon emeralds. In the 1960s, the Tiara was heavily reworked and now features just the savoy knot base topped with Diamond Stars.
The first owner of the tiara was Princess Hélène of Orleans, who received the sparkler as a wedding gift from King Umberto and Queen Margherita of Italy when she married their cousin, the 2nd Duke of Aosta, in 1895. She wore the piece in many official portraits, often the entire piece, but sometimes with the Savoy knot base topped with cabochon emeralds from a necklace also given to her as a wedding gift. Notable appearences include the Wedding of Prince Philipp of Hesse and Princess Mafalda of Savoy in 1925 and the Wedding of the Duke of Apulia, her eldest son, and Princess Anne of Orléans in 1927. As Dowager Duchess, she famously wore the tiara during a visit to the Vatican in 1941.
Princess Hélène, Duchess of Aosta died in 1951, having outlived both of her sons, and while a lot of her jewels, like her Choker Bandeau Tiara and Emerald Necklace, were inherited by her granddaughter, Princess Margherita of Savoy-Aosta, the Dowager Archduchess of Austria-Este, the Savoy Aosta Knot and Star Tiara was inherited by her only grandson, Prince Amedeo, the 5th (and current) Duke of Aosta, only son of Prince Aimone, 4th Duke of Aosta and Princess Irene of Greece. The Tiara was heavily changed before being worn by Princess Claude of Orléans when she married the Duke in 1964. The Duchess also wore the Tiara on a visit to the Vatican, the Wedding Ball of King Constantine of Greece and Princess Anne Marie of Denmark in 1964, and the Wedding Ball of Infanta Pilar of Spain in 1967. The 5th Duke and Duchess had three children before their divorce in 1982.
Prince Amedeo, the Duke of Aosta married Silvia Paternò di Spedalotto in 1987, and the Duchess of Aosta, she wore the Savoy Knot and Star Tiara for a series of official portraits. In 1988, the piece remained in the bank vault in Switzerland when the Duke’s eldest daughter, Princess Bianca of Savoy-Aosta, married Count Giberto Arrivabene-Valenti-Gonzaga, who instead borrowed a small Tiara from her mother-in-law, and it was also not worn by Princess Mafalda of Savoy-Aosta when she married Don Alessandro Ruffo di Calabria-Santapau dei Principi di Palazzolo. The Savoy Knot and Star Tiara was last seen in an exhibition in the late 2000s. It is still owned by the Aosta family, and will probably be seen next on the Duchess of Apulia, nee Princess Olga of Greece, the daughter-in-law of Prince Amedeo.