For the first time, Sotheby’s will offer at auction a royal tiara, property of the House of Savoy.
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Next 11 May, a magnificent tiara in possession of the Italian Royal Family, the House of Savoy, will highlight the ‘Magnificent Jewels and Nobel Jewels‘ auction at Sotheby’s Geneva.
This tiara is a real protagonist of the House of Savoy’s history. It is a natural pearl and diamond jewel, one of the most important ever appeared on the market in the latest years. Sotheby’s will offer the tiara at a pre-sale estimate of CHF 940,000 – 1,400,000.
The tiara presents a succession of eleven graduated scroll motifs. Each motif features a natural pearl surrounded by old cut diamonds.
The surmount rests on a detachable band composed of cluster and bar motifs set with cushion-shaped diamonds.
The scroll motifs are detachable and may be worn as a necklace.
A wedding gift
The House of Savoy Tiara has an extraordinary provenance. Its creation goes back to the XIXth century, owned by two European Royal Collections.
The commission of the tiara probably dates to 1867. The occasion was Maria Vittoria dal Pozzo’s (1847-1876) wedding to Amedeo I of Savoy, Duke of Aosta.
Musy Father & Sons probably designed and created the tiara. Musy was the Savoy court jeweller and one of the most ancient in Europe. This remarkable piece has remained within the family for 150 years.
Maria Vittoria dal Pozzo, Princess della Cisterna
Maria Vittoria Carlotta Enrichetta Giovanna dal Pozzo was born in Paris, on August 9, 1847. She was the daughter of Carlo Emanuele, Count dal Pozzo and Prince della Cisterna. Her mother was Louise Caroline, Comtesse de Merode-Westerloo.
At the age of 19, Maria Vittoria married Prince Amedeo of Savoy (1845-1890), Duke of Aosta. He was the youngest son of King Vittorio Emanuele II of Italy and Archduchess Adelaide of Austria.
At the beginning of their relationship, the King considered Vittoria inferior to his son Amedeo. However, it seems that Maria Vittoria’s in-laws later took her into higher consideration. In fact, the King gifted Maria Vittoria with an exquisite pearl necklace at her wedding’s day. The jewel featured a sapphire and diamond clasp. The wedding took place in the Royal Palace’s chapel in Turin.
Amedeo and Vittoria moved to Spain in 1870. The Cortes suggested Amedeo succeed on the Bourbon throne. However, Amedeo abdicated in 1873, after only three years, because he could not resolve the country’s crisis.
Amedeo and Vittoria came back to Italy, where she died, aged only 29, in Sanremo on November 8, 1876.
The House of Savoy tiara’s provenance
Princess Vittoria had three sons: Prince Emanuele Filiberto, future Duke of Aosta (1869-1931), Prince Vittorio Emanuele (1870-1946), Count of Turin, and Prince Luigi Amedeo (1873-1933), Duke of the Abruzzi. The Princes supposedly inherited their mother’s jewels.
Historians think that the tiara presumably went to either the Count of Turin or the Duke of the Abruzzi. What is certain is that King Umberto II of Italy bought the tiara from one of his cousins to keep it in the family collection.
It’s tiara time!
The House of Savoy tiara is hitting the market in a very favourable moment for antique jewels.
Collectors not only appreciate tiaras for their history and artistry but also their versatility. In fact, one can unmount and use them in so many other ways. They become attractive pieces to add to jewellery collections.
As a matter of fact, tiaras can reach very high prices at an auction. Last year, according to Sotheby’s, 96% of the tiaras offered found a buyer. Of these, 83% reached prices much higher compared to their highest pre-sale estimates.
Tiaras have always been the boast of great jewellery collections. But, in this last decade, their popularity has surged to unprecedented levels. These historical pieces are appreciated worldwide. This not only because of their craftsmanship and quality of materials that make them real works of arts but also because of their historical and emotional importance. It is a mix of magnificence and intimacy.Benoit Repellin, ‘Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels’ auction Director