The Hesse Ears of Wheat Tiara was a wedding gift to an Italian Princess who died in a Nazi concentration camp. It was among the jewels recovered in the famous Hesse Jewelry Heist, while many others were lost. The Hesse Ears of Wheat Tiara has been worn by the female members of the former German Hesse royal family at weddings and glittering events in the present day.
This diamond tiara, composed of ten ears of wheat of varying lengths arranged in a wreath style, was probably made in the 19th century.
The Hesse Ears of Wheat Tiara was given as a wedding present by Prince Phillip of Hesse to his bride, Princess Mafalda of Italy, in 1925. Princess Mafalda wore it to her wedding at Racconigi Castle in September, 1925 and on a visit to the Vatican. During WWII, after Italy’s surrender to the Allies, she was imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp, and died during an Allied air strike. After WWII, when the Hesse families Schloss Friedrichshof was used as an officer’s club by during the American occupation, some officers discovered the family jewels hidden in a basement, stole the jewelry valued at over $2 million, and smuggled it over to the US. While the thieves were eventually caught, only 10% of the jewels, including the Ears of Wheat Tiara, were recovered and returned to the Hesse royal family.
In 1964, the Hesse Ears of Wheat Tiara was worn by Princess Tatiana of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg when she married Prince Moritz of Hesse, the eldest son of Prince Phillip and Princess Mafalda. Prince Moritz was the heir to his cousin, Prince Louis of Hesse, and inherited the Hesse Strawberry Leaf Tiara. She also wore it in 1967, at the wedding celebrations of her brother, Prince Richard of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg, to Princess Bendikte of Denmark. Tatiana and Moritz divorced in 1974, after having four children
The Hesse Ears of Wheat Tiara was worn by another Princess Mafalda of Hesse, granddaughter of the original and eldest daughter of Tatiana and Philip, at her 1989 wedding to Enrico Cinzano. The marriage ended in divorce a year later.
The Hesse Ears of Wheat Tiara was also worn by Countess Floria of Faber-Castell at her wedding to Prince Donatus, Landgrave of Hesse, eldest son of Tatiana and Moritz, in 2003. Floria and Donatus are the current heads of the Hesse Royal family. The couple have a daughter and two sons. The Tiara probably be seen on Princess Floria at a german royal event. UPDATE- Landgravine Floria wore the Hesse Ears of Wheat Tiara at the Wedding Ball of Duchess Sophie of Württemberg.
The tiara was last worn in 2006 by Laetitia Bechtolf at her wedding to Prince Philip Robin of Hesse, younger son of Tatiana and Moritz. The couple have three children.
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(Thank You to Mallu for most of the pictures)