Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn Tiaras

Today marks the 102nd Birthday of Marianne, the Dowager Fürst zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn, who turns 102 today! The accomplished Princess from the illustrious Princely Family who is a renowned photographer, Princess Marianne has had a long and varied life, possessing some splendid Jewels, which we are featuring today!

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But first, lets learn about Princess Marianne! Born Baroness Marianne von Mayr-Melnhof, she was the eldest daughter of Baron Friedrich Mayr von Melnhof and Countess Maria-Anna von Meran, a member of a a morganatic branch of the Imperial Habsburg-Lorraine. Growing up at Glanegg Castle near Salzburg, she studied at the Blocherer Art School in Munich and in 1942, she married Ludwig Prince zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn, facing many hardships in the years during and after the Second World War. The couple had five children, including the present Fürst zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn before the Prince’s death in 1964, after being ‘run over by a drunk truck driver in Sayn near Koblenz on the sidewalk in front of her house’. The Princess then took over the management of the family estates, which include Schloss Sayn and a Hunting Lodge in Fuschl am See near Salzburg, inherited from Princess Marianne’s father, until her son came of age. Princess Marianne began a career as a professional photographer and took over 300,000 of photos Royals, Nobels, Celebrities and Socialites, being termed ‘Mamarazza’ by Princess Caroline of Monaco and Hanover; “Manni, you are a real Mamarazza” because in contrast to paparazzi, she never used indiscreet or degrading photos: “I always photographed my friends as friends.” From the 1970s to 2009, during and around the annual Salzburg Festival, Princess Marianne gave several “rural lunches” for 100 guests each in her Hunting Lodge at Fuschl am See near Salzburg, to which she has welcomed thousands of celebrities, including many artists performing at the festival, as well as scores of Diplomats, Politicians, and Royals, most notably King Juan Carlos of Spain. We wish the Princess a very Happy Birthday and Many Happy Returns!

Diamond Flower Tiara

Consisting of three small diamond flowers set on a simple diamond base, this versatile Tiara was likely made from existing Family Heirlooms. The piece was worn as a necklace by Princess Marianne at the Wedding of Princess Benedikte of Denmark and Prince Richard of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg in 1968. A few years later, in 1973, Princess Marianne wore the Diamond Flower Tiara with a Diamond Bracelet borrowed from her friend, the Countess of Romanones, for a Ball held on the eve of the Wedding of their children, Princess Theresia and the Count of Quintanilla. Interestingly enough, the Emerald Tiara worn by the Countess now belongs to Corinna zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn, the former wife of the Princess Marianne’s grandson.

The Flower Tiara was worn by Countess Gabriela of Schönborn-Wiesentheid when she married Prince Alexander zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn, the elder son of Princess Marianne, in 1969. Princess Gabriela was also pictured wearing the Tiara at a Ball in 1970.

After Princess Marianne wore the Tiara for the Wedding Ball, the following day, her daughter, Princess Theresia zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn, wore the Diamond Flower Tiara, with the Countess of Romanones’ diamond bracelet, to marry Luis de Figueroa y Griffith, 11th Count of Quintanilla. More recently, the Diamond Flower Tiara was worn by Princess Marianne’s granddaughter, and daughter of Prince Alexander and Princess Gabriela, Princess Sofia of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn, for her Wedding to Archia Akhavan-Kharazian in Austria last year.

UPDATE: The Hereditary Princess wore the Diamond Flower Tiara for the Wedding of Prince Gustav of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg and Carina Axelsson in 2022.

Pearl and Diamond Tiara

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The Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn Family also has a Pearl and Diamond Tiara in their collection, in a fairly modern design that dates from around the 1950s and 1960s, and originates from the Thurn und Taxis Princely Family. Countess Helen of Schönborn-Wiesentheid, née Princess of Thurn und Taxis wore the Tiara at the Wedding Ball of Prince Alexander zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn, elder son of Princess Marianne, and her daughter, Countess Gabriela of Schönborn-Wiesentheid, at Schloss Weißenstein in 1969, and the Wedding Ball of Princess Marie Antoinette von Fürstenberg and her son, Count Johannes of Schoenborn Wiesentheid, in 1977.

The Pearl and Diamond Tiara was inherited by Countess Helen’s daughter, the current Princess zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn, who notably wore it at the Wedding of Princess Alexandra of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg and Count Jefferson von Pfeil und Klein-Ellguth in 1998.

The Tiara is primarily worn by brides who marry into the family, like Donna Priscilla Incisa della Rocchetta who wore it to marry Hereditary Prince Heinrich zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn in 2003, Countess Philippa Spannocchi wore the Tiara to marry Prince Ludwig in 2011, and more recently Alana Bunte wore the Tiara for her Wedding to Prince Casimir in 2019.

Koch Pearl and Diamond Tiara

For the Wedding of Princess Benedikte of Denmark and Prince Richard of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg in 1968,  Princess Marianne wore a small Diamond and Pearl Tiara that appears to be in the style of the jeweller Koch. In 1993, the Tiara was worn by actress Sunnyi Melles when she married Prince Peter zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn.

Other Tiaras

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When Princess Alexandra, the daughter of the current Prince zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn, married Hereditary Prince Carl Eugen zu Oettingen-Wallerstein in 1994, she wore the Oettingen-Wallerstein. Her younger sister, Princess Filippa, wore a mystery Diamond Tiara (likely from her husband’s family) for her Wedding to Count Vittorio Mazzetti d’Albertis, though she sadly passed away in a car crash three months later and didn’t get an opportunity to repeat the Tiara. The two (or three if you include the bracelet) Tiaras currently belonging to the Princely Family are quite small and rather contemporary in style, and it is quite likely that they were created (in the instance of the Flower Tiara) or acquired in the 1950s or 60s, likely after earlier Family Heirlooms were sold in the years after the Second World War when Schloss Sayn had to be restored and the family faced many hardships for years.


One thought on “Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn Tiaras

  1. Wow! I can’t believe her amazing age! Her tiaras a very pretty, but especially the small pearl and diamond one. It has such a delicate and pleasing design. I wish Marianne, the Dowager Fürst zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn much joy on achieving such a great age, one which most of us can only dream of attaining! I hope she was able to enjoy her special day with her family.

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