Happy Birthday to Gloria, the Princess von Thurn und Taxis, who turns 60 today! The impoverished Schönburg-Glauchau Countess who became an extravagant Princess in the 1980s and, after being widowed young, she transformed into a successful businesswoman to save the massive family fortune, facilitated through the sale of some family jewels. To mark her landmark birthday, we are taking a look at the Thurn und Taxis Tiaras.
Featuring 212 pearls and and 1998 diamonds, the Pearl and Diamond Tiara was commissioned by Emperor Napoleon III to celebrate his marriage to Eugénie de Montijo in 1853, using stones from the French Crown Jewels, which meant the Tiara stayed in France when the couple went into exile in 1870, being sold in the famous auction of the French Crown Jewels, before being acquired by Prince Albert of Thurn und Taxis as a wedding gift for Archduchess Margarethe Klementine of Austria, who wore Empress Eugénie’s Pearl Tiara numerous times during her long marriage, including her 60th Anniversary celebrations in 1950. In 1980, Countess Gloria von Schönburg-Glauchau wore the Tiara when she married Johannes, the 11th Prince of Thurn und Taxis, and she also wore the Tiara for Prince Johannes’ famously lavish 60th Birthday. After his death, the Tiara was sold in the famous auction, and acquired by the Friends of the Louvre. Today, Empress Eugénie’s Pearl Tiara is on display with the other French Crown Jewels at the Louvre in Paris (where I hope to see it in a few days).
Featuring diamond clusters and honeysuckles, the grand Thurn und Taxis Empire Tiara was made around 1825 in the style of the French Empire. The piece was often worn by Archduchess Margarethe Klementine, before being put on sale at the famous auction, though IIRC, it failed to sell and presumably still belongs to the family.
Featuring large ruby clusters over a scroll frame, with a parure including a necklace, multiple pairs of earrings, and a couple of brooches, the Tiara and parts of the parure were frequently worn by Princess Gloria with her outrageous hairstyles in the 1980s. While some pieces of the parure were sold in the auction, the Tiara remains with the family and has been worn by Princess Gloria and her daughter, Princess Maria Theresia, in recent years.
Featuring pear-shaped cabochon emeralds, the Thurn und Taxis Emerald Tiara was made by Hancocks in 1855, and includes a large accompanying parure. After being worn by Princess Gloria a few times during her ‘Punk Princess’ heydays, it evaded the auction block, and was worn also by her to events during her widowhood, most recently during a Vanity Fair photoshoot. The Thurn und Taxis Emerald Tiara has also been worn by her younger daughter, Princess Elisabeth. Click HERE to learn more.
Featuring large sapphire and diamond clusters in a huge, ornate diamond frame , the Thurn und Taxis Sapphire Tiara, made by made by F.Kreuter, is a family heirloom from the 19th century and was pictured on Archduchess Margarethe Klementine in the late 1800s, before appearing on Princess Gloria in the 1980s and 1990s. The parure, which features huge sapphires that can be replaced with diamonds, has also been worn often, even after Princess Gloria was widowed.
Featuring diamond fuchsia, flowers, buds and wild roses in foliage, the Thurn und Taxis Diamond Floral Tiara was created around 1845, probably by Köchert, and worn by Princess Gloria at a very stately appearance in the early 1990s. The Tiara was sold at the famous auction and has not been publicly seen in the years since.