Marchioness of Londonderry’s Tiaras

Today marks the 140th Anniversary of Edith Vane-Tempest-Stewart, the 7th Marchioness of Londonderry, who was an influential society hostess throughout much of the first half of the 20th century. The Anglo Irish Vane-Tempest-Stewart have have produced a plethora of politicians and socialites, Lady Annabel Goldsmith is the daughter of the 8th Marquess, and Edith was one of a long line of prominent Marchionesses of Londonderry who entertained at the family seats of Mount Stewart in Northern Ireland and Wynyard Park in County Durham as well as the famous Londonderry House in London, all of which no longer belong to the current Marquess. To mark the anniversary of her birth, we are taking a look at the Jewels of the Marchionesses of Londonderry-

Londonderry Tiara

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Commissioned by the 3rd Marchioness from Garrard in 1854, using existing family jewels, the Londonderry Tiara was part of a larger parure including a large diamond stomacher, diamond riviere with a cross pendant, and diamond bow brooches. The Tiara was first photographed on the influential 6th Marchioness, who adapted it to wear at the famous Devonshire House Ball in 1897, and added Pearls to wear the Tiara at the Coronation of King Edward VII in 1902, when it dropped into the toilet and had to be ‘rescued by a pair of forceps’. The 7th Marchioness frequently wore the Tiara to entertain at Londonderry House in the interwar years, and also wore it for her Lazlo portrait. The Londonderry Tiara still belongs to the family, it was worn by the 9th Marchioness at her wedding in 1858, and has been on permanent exhibition, along with the Stomacher and Amethysts, at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.

Amethyst Parure

In 1821, the 3rd Marchioness was given 14 Siberian Amethysts by Tsar Alexander I of Russia, who had become smitten with her after viewing her portrait. The Marchioness ‘managed to end the love affair ‘innocent of guilt’, but the jewels given to her have remained with the family, notably wearing them to the Coronation of King William IV. In 1916, the Amethysts were made into a Tiara for the 7th Marchioness, though she preferred wearing them as a corsage ornament, while the 9th Marchioness wore them as a necklace. The Londonderry Amethysts are on permanent display at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, though they still belong to the family.

Pearl Parure

The Londonderry ‘Gouttes de Perles’ Parure, consisting of several brooches, earrings, and pendants, can be worn as a necklace and a tiara. It was bought by the 3rd Marchioness of Londonderry around 1821, during the Marquess’ Embassy to Vienna, and was often paired with the Londonderry Tiara, or worn as a Tiara itself by subsequent Marchionesses. It appears that the Parure was among the pieces, like the family seat of Mount Stewart, inherited by Lady Mairi Bury, the youngest and favourite child of the 7th Marquess and Marchioness of Londonderry, as the Tiara was worn by her daughter, the Hon. Elizabeth Keppel, at her first wedding. The Parure is also on display at the Victoria & Albert Museum.

Turquoise Parure

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The Londonderry Turquoise Parure was bought by the 3rd Marchioness from Count Ferdinand Palffy, who had collected them throughout his life, in Vienna in 1820, and she notably wore pieces of the parure on her skirt at the Coronation of King William IV in 1830. The Parure was worn by the 7th Marchioness with the Londonderry Tiara and Stomacher, and a brooch was also worn by the infamous 9th Marchioness.

Emerald Parure

Another gift from 3rd Marchioness of Londonderry from Tsar Alexander I of Russia, the Londonderry Emerald Parure appears to have been also inherited by Lady Mairi Bury, and was worn by her daughter, Baroness Sudeley, for a portrait. The Suite is also on display at the Victoria & Albert Museum.  An Emerald Bracelet belonging to the 7th Marchioness was auctioned earlier this year.


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6 thoughts on “Marchioness of Londonderry’s Tiaras

  1. interesting that the londonderry tiara and the amethyst tiara both exhibited at the V&A still belong to the family. Does that mean the family could still borrow the tiaras from the V&A, to wear for an event like a wedding or Charles’ coronation?

    1. ditto the two Fife family tiaras on display at KP – I understand they were lent to the govt for permanent display (to settle taxes??) but could the Fifes borrow the tiaras back from the exhibit to wear in the event of a coronation?

      1. I believe it would be possible, and probably be part of the terms negotiated at the time of the loan, to allow the Tiaras to be worn at Weddings and Coronations!

  2. I’m just looking for place to start up a blog with a friend where we talk sports in Chicago as well as other things going on nationwide….just for fun. Any suggestions on sites would be great. Thanks..

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