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