Queen Alexandrine’s Russian Sapphire Tiara

On November 30th, Bruun Rasmussen Auctioneers in Copenhagen will be auctioning Queen Alexandrine’s Russian Sapphire Tiara from the collections of Countess Josephine, Countess Camilla, Countess Feodora of Rosenborg, and we will be taking a look at the history of the illustrious piece.

A wedding gift from Tsar Nicholas II and Tsarina Alexandra Feodorovna of Russia to Princess Alexandrine of Mecklenburg-Schwerin when she married Prince Christian of Denmark, a cousin of the groom, in 1898, the Tiara features eight oval-cut Ceylon sapphires and is attributed to jewellers C.E. Bolin in St. Petersburg. While Queen Alexandrine was never photographed wearing the piece as a Tiara, she wore some of the sapphire elements as pendants and brooches.

In 1933, Queen Alexandrine presented it to Princess Caroline-Mathilde of Denmark on wedding to her second son, Prince Knud, who wore the piece in it’s earliest configuration in a portrait, at the wedding of her sister Princess Alexandrine Louise, and King Christian X’s Silver Jubilee in 1937.

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Like her mother-in-law, Princess Caroline-Mathilde wore the sapphire elements of the tiara on a necklace, along with Princess Thyra’s Sapphire Tiara. She modifed the top of the Queen Alexandrine’s Russian Sapphire Tiara, and wore that version at the wedding of her son, Count Ingolf, who has described his memories of the piece as:

As a boy, the jewellery of the ladies wasn’t exactly at the top of my mind. But my mother, Hereditary Princess Caroline-Mathilde, received the piece of jewellery as a wedding gift from my grandmother and grandfather (her in-laws, King Christian X and Queen Alexandrine), which was originally a gift from my grandmother and grandfather’s relatives – Tsar Nikolai II and Tsaritsa Alexandra of Russia. It was a Russian piece of jewellery with sapphires and diamonds, which my mother used both as a necklace and as a bandeau, as can be seen in photographs from back then. At a later date, my mother had the jewellery changed to its present form, and I remember very well her wearing this Russian sapphire tiara.”

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After Princess Caroline-Mathilde death in 1995, she bequeathed Queen Alexandrine’s Russian Sapphire Tiara to her younger son, Count Christian, and was worn by his wife, Countess Anne Dorte at a variety of Royal events, including Prince Joachim’s Pre-Wedding Ball and Wedding in 1995, and Queen Margrethe’s Ruby Jubilee celebrations. Count Christian gifted the piece to his wife for her 50th Birthday in 1997, with the note that said this tiara “has been your mother-in-law’s and before that her mother-in-law’s”. After Count Christian and Countess Anne Dorte’s deaths in 2013 and 2014 respectively, the Tiara was inherited by Countess Josephine, Countess Camilla, Countess Feodora of Rosenborg, who are selling them at the auction estimate of DKK 1,500,000-2,000,000.

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Et guldæg og en champagnekøler i forgyldt sølv er blandt de næsten 100 genstande, der fra i dag er udstillet i Fabergékammeret på Amalienborgmuseet i Christian VIII’s Palæ på Amalienborg. H.M. Dronningen og H.K.H. Prinsesse Benedikte var fredag eftermiddag til stede ved åbningen af kammeret, der fremover vil være en permanent del af museet. Fabergékammeret rummer russisk juvelérarbejde fra perioden 1860-1917 med fokus på de nære bånd mellem det danske og det russiske monarki. Ved åbningen holdt Dronningen tale, hvor Majestæten takkede H.M. Dronning Anne-Marie, Prinsesse Benedikte samt H.E. Greve Ingolf af Rosenborg for udlån til udstillingen. Dronningen fortalte også, at flere af udstillingens artefakter har tilhørt Dronning Alexandrine, som sammen med Christian 10. havde residens i Christian VIII’s Palæ. Efter åbningen fik Dronningen og Prinsessen en rundvisning i Fabergékammeret og så blandt andet det eneste æg i samlingen ”Guldæg med høne”. Ægget menes at have tjent som inspiration for den russiske hofjuveler Carl Fabergés berømte æg, som hans firma fremstillede i perioden 1885-1917. I Fabergékammeret kan man også se et par vinkølere og en champagnekøler i forgyldt sølv. Dette var en gave til Christian 9. og Dronning Louise fra deres seks børn i anledning af Kongeparrets guldbryllup i 1892. Ved åbningen af Fabergékammeret var der underholdning ved Zapolski-strygerne, der spillede musik af komponisterne Tjajkovskij og Prokofiev.

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UPDATE- The Tiara is now on display at the Amalienborg Palace Museum, where I got to see it on display during my visit.


3 thoughts on “Queen Alexandrine’s Russian Sapphire Tiara

  1. This sale is so sad. Another beautiful piece of jewelry history is no doubt going to disappear either into a museum or somebody’s safe. Inheritance taxes being what they are many times force people to sell things I’m sure they’d probably rather keep. And it’s not just for the monetary value of the jewelry, but because of the family history and so on. I guess that’s why it makes so much sense to have a jewel foundation like Sweden and the Netherlands have. That way everyone gets to enjoy the use of the jewels and they don’t need to be sold. Or, do what the British do and leave everything to the monarch and let him or her parcel things out.

  2. After I originally left a comment I appear to have clicked on the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now whenever a comment is added I receive 4 emails with the same comment. Is there an easy method you can remove me from that service? Many thanks!

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