Princess Bibesco’s Emerald Tiara

Today marks the 135th Anniversary of the Birth of the fascinating Princess Marthe Bibesco, who was born on this day in 1886! Never one to miss an opportunity, we are going to be featuring her magnificent Emerald Tiara and Parure today, which we are been researching long before the beginning of the Royal Watcher!

The celebrated writer was born into an important Romanian Noble Family and married Prince Bibescu, the head of one of the most prominent Aristocratic Families. Princess Marthe Bibesco began a career as a prominent writer while travelling through European High Society in the first few decades of the 20th century, becoming a leading style icon, socialite and political hostess until being forced into exiled following the Second World War. The Princess remained a prominent figure in exile between Paris and the United Kingdom, being appointed a member of the Belgian Academy of French Language and Literature, and being awarded the Légion d’honneur. Princess Marthe Bibesco passed away in Paris in 1973.

When the Princess married Prince George III Valentin Bibescu in 1902, she wrote ‘I stepped onto the European stage through the grand door,’ and that was certainly true of the magnificent cabochon emeralds she was photographed wearing in a Tiara, Necklace and Corsage Ornament in the first decade of the 20th century. Celebrated jewellery author, Vincent Meylan, believes that the Emeralds might originate with the Prince’s godmother, the fabulously wealthy Princess Vera Lobanoff de Rostoff.

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A few years later, Princess Marthe Bibesco had the massive cabochon emeralds reset into an Art Deco Diamond Kokoshnik Tiara by Cartier, which was worn with a large corsage ornament, brooches and a pair of long earrings. The Tiara was worn in a variety of creative ways, including as an ornament on her shoulder during the 1920s, and could also be worn as a necklace, notably being worn for her daughter’s Wedding and a Banquet with the Marchioness of Londonderry. It continued to be worn during her years in exile.

However, by 1970, with her massive fortune in Romania having been confiscated for decades and having to rely on her income from writing, the Princess had to sell her Art Deco Emerald and Diamond Kokoshnik Tiara and the large Corsage Ornament at Auction at Christie’s in Paris. The current fate of the jewels is unknown.


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