Today marks the 120th Anniversary of the Birth of Princess Mafalda of Savoy, Landgravine of Hesse, who was born on this day in 1902! The Italian Princess who married a German Prince and died in a Nazi Concentration Camp, Princess Mafalda possessed some spectacular Jewels, the highlight of which was this splendid Amethyst Tiara and Parure!
Composed of a Diamond Bandeau Tiara set with large faceted Amethysts, a large necklace, a smaller necklace, a pair of earrings, a buckle brooch, an amethyst brooch with a pendant, and four additional amethyst and diamond elements, the entire Parure seems to have been created around the time of the marriage of Princess Mafalda of Savoy to Prince Phillip of Hesse in 1925. While we have a sketch of the necklace, the original source is lost, so we cannot determine the creator of the Parure, though it was likely Koch.
Princess Mafalda notably wore the Amethyst Bandeau Tiara along with the large necklace, earrings, brooches, and massive stomacher for a series of portraits taken in the late 1920s or early 1930s.
In the 1930s, the Amethyst Tiara and Parure were worn by Princess Sophie of Greece and Hesse, the sister-in-law of Princess Mafalda, for a series of portraits that have been widely published since.
During the Second World War, Princess Mafalda was arrested by the Gestapo and sent to the Buchenwald Concentration Camp, where she passed away after an Allied Bombing Raid in 1944. Princess Sophie lost her husband in a plane crash during the War, and lost another sister-in-law in an Allied Bombing Raid.
After the Second World War, the Hesse Family Jewels were buried in a cellar at the main family seat of Schloss Friedrichshof, which was being used as a club by American Soldiers, until they were discovered and stolen by the American club manager and her future husband. The theft not discovered until Princess Sophie was preparing for her second marriage in 1945, and while the culprits were found, only 10% of the jewels were returned in 1951, which included the Hesse Ears of Wheat Tiara, though the fate of the Amethyst Parure still remains a mystery.
However, some of the Amethysts may have been returned to the Hesse Royal Family, because in the 1960s, Princess Tatiana of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg, the then Princess of Hesse, was pictured in a Parure that may have used the Amethysts from her mother-in-law, Princess Mafalda. The Tiara was created by Koch in 1957 and was worn with pearls as well as emeralds recovered from the Hesse Emerald Tiara, so it is likely that it could also be worn with other stones. This Parure has not been pictured since the 1960s and it is unknown if the gemstones were the Amethysts or another stone.