A rare double-decker tiara has come up for auction that once belonged to a former lady-in-waiting to Spanish Queen Victoria Eugenia, the wife of Alfonso XIII.
The piece was designed by the Spanish royal jeweler Ansorena at the start of the 20th century and has been in the family of Chávarri Aldecoa, Countess of Villagonzalo, for more than 110 years. Bonhams, the London-based company behind the sale, says it could fetch between $103,000 and $160,000.
Featuring a Louis XVI design of diamond wreaths and flowers, the tiara is set throughout with brilliant, single and rose-cut diamonds and mounted in platinum. Total carats? A whopping 33.5. The lower diadem detaches from its frame to be worn as a choker.
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“It is supremely elegant given its lace like quality in platinum and diamonds,” says Emily Barber, director of jewelry at Bonhams. “The craftsmanship is extraordinary.”
“Tiaras are very much in demand given we are seeing a growing group of collectors globally,” said Guy Burton of Hancocks London. “With the recent royal wedding, when the Duchess of Sussex wore Queen Mary’s spectacular tiara, and this being admired and talked about to a global viewing audience, there is definitely a renewed appreciation and interest.”
The double-decker tiara is being sold along with one that formerly belonged to the Churchill family and was worn by Viscountess Churchill at the 1937 coronation of King George VI. A geometric Art Deco piece, is also a transformable jewel and may be worn in a variety of ways: as a tiara, necklace, pair of bracelets and various clips and brooches. Adds Barber: “It is extremely rare to have not one but two tiaras with such interesting provenances. They are not only fine examples of the respective jeweler’s art, but great survivors from an age of aristocratic glamour.”