Queen Olga’s Diamond Rivière

Today marks the 25th Anniversary of the Death of Princess Olga of Yugoslavia, who passed away on this day in 1997! The illustrious Greek Princess, a cousin of the reigning & former Crowned Heads of Europe, who married the much maligned Second World War Regent of Yugoslavia and spent much of her life in exile, Princess Olga possessed a spectacular jewellery collection, the highlight of which was this splendid Diamond Rivière from her namesake grandmother!

Diamond Kokoshnik Tiara | Boucheron Diamond Tiara | Princess Olga’s Diamond Earrings | Crown Brooch | Emerald Earrings | Greek Ruby Parure

An important Diamond Rivière of twenty-six graduated cushion-cut diamonds, mounted in gold and silver, circa 1860, this Rivière originates from when Grand Duchess Olga Konstantinovna of Russia, the daughter of Grand Duke Konstantin Nikolayevich and granddaughter of Tsar Nicholas I, was marrying King George I of Greece in 1867. 

Queen Olga often wore the Diamond Rivière for portraits and numerous Gala Events, and it was among the jewels, including the Greek Emerald Parure and the Greek Ruby Parure, which were saved only by the swift actions of her companion, Anna Egorova, when the Bolsheviks ransacked the Pavlovsk Palace, where Queen Olga spent much of the First World War, during the Russian Revolution. The Jewels were then taken by a Greek student to Copenhagen and deposited for safekeeping. 

In 1923, Queen Olga gave the Diamond Rivière to her namesake granddaughter, Princess Olga of Greece and Denmark, when she married Prince Paul of Yugoslavia, who wore the piece on her Wedding Day in Belgrade:

The couple received some wonderful wedding presents: Olga was given a necklace of 26 diamond collets from her grandmother Queen Olga, while Paul’s Aunt Moina provided a Boucheron Diamond Tiara.

The Rivière was often worn by Princess Olga with her Diamond Kokoshnik Tiara and her Boucheron Diamond Tiara for numerous Gala events, especially after Prince Paul became the Regent of Yugoslavia, with the  Rivière worn for the Wedding of her sister, Princess Marina of Greece, to Prince George, Duke of Kent in 1934, the Coronation Gala in London in 1937, the Wedding Gala of Crown Prince Paul of Greece and Princess Frederica of Hanover in 1938, a State Visit to Britain, a controversial State Visit to Nazi Germanyand a State Visit to Italy in 1939.

During the Second World War, Prince Paul was ousted and sent into exile by the Allies during WWII and afterwards, the communist government abolished the monarchy, the royal family were prohibited from returning to Yugoslavia, and had all their property confiscated, though Princess Olga took all her Jewels with her, wearing them for the first time after the War at the Opening of the Festival of Britain in 1951. Queen Olga’s Diamond Rivière was also worn for the Wedding and Wedding Gala of her son, Prince Alexander of Yugoslavia, and Princess Maria Pia of Italy in 1955, and at the Wedding Ball of Archduke Ferdinand of Austria and her niece, Countess Helen zu Toerring-Jettenbach, in 1956.

While Princess Olga was still in exile in South Africa in 1947, she had loaned two of her Diamond Rivières to Queen Frederica of Greece, for the Wedding of the future Queen Elizabeth II to their cousin, Prince Phillip of Greece and Denmark. Queen Frederica also wore a Diamond Rivière in the 1950s, most notably for a Greek State Visit to France in 1956, likely on loan from Princess Olga, who by then was living in Paris. 


In 1960, Princess Olga also loaned two of her Diamond Rivières, and her Diamond Kokoshnik Tiara, to her daughter-in-law, Princess Maria Pia of Savoy, for the Wedding of her cousin, King Baudouin of Belgium, and they were also worn for the Wedding Ball at the Royal Palace of Brussles as well as the Ball at the Musée du Cinquantenaire in 1960. 

Princess Olga continued to wear her Diamond Rivières for Royal Events, including King Paul of Greece’s 60th Birthday Banquet at the Royal Palace of Athens in 1961, the Wedding Ball of Prince Juan Carlos of Spain and Princess Sophia of Greece in 1962, and the Wedding Ball of King Constantine II of Greece and Princess Anne Marie of Denmark in 1964.

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By the late 1970s, Princess Olga had given Queen Olga’s Diamond Rivière to her daughter-in-law, Princess Barbara of Liechtenstein, who notably wore it for a Galla at the Hotel Chabot in 1978, as well as a couple of occasions through the 1980s and 90s, along with the Boucheron Diamond Tiara.

Princess Olga passed away in 1997, and in 2006, Queen Olga’s Diamond Rivière came up for Auction at Christie’s in Geneva, estimated between CHF 480,000 – CHF 680,000, but eventually selling for CHF 1,005,600. The current location of the Diamond Rivière is unknown. 

Diamond Kokoshnik Tiara | Boucheron Diamond Tiara | Princess Olga’s Diamond Earrings | Crown Brooch | Emerald Earrings | Greek Ruby Parure


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