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The Vladimir pearl tiara

The Grand Duchess Vladimir Tiara

The tiara was named after its original owner Maria Pavlovna, Grand Duchess Vladimir of Russia..  In 1874, The Grand Duchess comissioned the Bolins, the Russian court jewellers of the time, to create a tiara that would represent the trends of the time.

The original tiara was set in platinum, and consisted of fifteen interlaced diamond-covered circles strung together with a diamond ribbon on top. At the bottom, the circles are attached to a semi-circular thick band of platinum that forms the circlet of the tiara. The beauty of the tiara was further enhanced by the swinging oriental pearl drops with small diamond set mounts positioned inside each circle.

Along with most Russian aristocracy and royalty, Maria Pavlovna the Elder was forced to flee the country during the Russian Revolution of 1917. Eventually, the Grand Duchess moved to Venice before settling down in the south of France.

The Vladimir Tiara, remained in the Palace. A friend of the family (a British diplomat and member of the Secret Intelligence Service) smuggled them  out of the Palace and then send abroad through diplomatic channels in a plain bag.

Once the Grand Duchess was reunited with her jewels, she split them up among her four children before passing away in Paris in September of 1920. The Vladimir tiara, along with most of the diamond jewellery that was part of Maria Pavlovna’s world-renowned collection, was left to her only daughter, Grand Duchess Elena Vladimirovna of Russia.  The Tiara was sold to Queen Mary in 1921.

The family’s exile meant money was hard to come, and some of the collection was sold. The tiara was sold to Queen Mary in 1921. The tiara was in need of repair and later  in 1921 the Queen got the court jewellers Garrard & Co to cut and polish fifteen of her famous Cambridge emeralds, which originally topped the Delhi Durbar Tiara, as drop-shaped pendants. This allowed the tiara  to be interchangeable with the emeralds whenever needed.

When Queen Mary died in 1953, she willed most of her jewellery collection, including the Vladimir Tiara, to her granddaughter, Queen Elizabeth. The tiara soon became one of the Queen’s favourite pieces

Height 3 inches

Diameter across the base 6.75 inches

Item No: 76-011