Today marks the Anniversary of the birth of Princess Olga of Yugoslavia, who was born on this day in 1903. A Greek Princess who married the Regent of Yugoslavia, and was related to Royalty around Europe, Princess Olga possessed a large collection of jewels, including today’s Emerald Earrings.
In 1902, the Grand Duchess Vladimir gave a brooch set with a round cabochon emerald in a diamond cluster and a magnificent pair of ear pendants with round cabochon emeralds and drops, from her personal collection, to her daughter Grand Duchess Elena when she married Prince Nicolas of Greece and Denmark, which were remounted at the end of the 1920s before being given to their eldest daughter, Princess Olga, who was married to the Prince Regent Paul of Yugoslavia, and wore the Emeralds on a State Visit to Nazi Germany in 1939.
Princess Olga retained most of her jewels through much of her exile, and wore her Emeralds for a variety of notable occasions, like the Wedding of her son Prince Alexander, to Princess Maria Pia of Italy in 1955 and the Wedding Ball of Prince Juan Carlos of Spain and Princess Sophia of Greece in 1962. They were also loaned to her daughter-in-law, Princess Maria Pia, for the Wedding Ball of her cousin, King Baudouin of Belgium, and Doña Fabiola de Mora y Aragón at the Musée du Cinquantenaire in Brussels in 1960. Eventually, however, she had to part with her jewels, and the Emerald Earrings were sold at Sotheby’s in 1987, while the Brooch was sold in 1990.
However, the Emerald Earrings were acquired by Prince Johannes of Thurn und Taxis for his wife, Princess Gloria, who wore them later in 1987 at a Sleeping Beauty Party. However, when Prince Johannes died in 1990, he left debts of $500 million, and Princess Gloria, who acted as the trustee for her underage son, sold off jewellery and other assets to preserve the family fortune, among which were Princess Olga’s Emerald Earrings.
Princess Olga’s Emerald Earrings were auctioned again, by a distinguished private collector at Sotheby’s in New York in 2014, where they fetched $1,055,000 USD, much higher than the estimate of $600,000-$800,000.