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Details & Cataloguing

Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels

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Garnet, natural pearl, cultured pearl and diamond tiara, Aage Dragsted, 1930s
Of floral and foliate design, set with pear-shaped and circular-cut garnets, a central natural pearl measuring 10.48 x 10.68 x 7.44mm, button-shaped cultured pearls and cushion-shaped, circular-, single-cut and rose diamonds, inner circumference approximately 380mm, unsigned, the detachable diamond rivière surmount may be worn separately, length approximately 465mm, screwdriver deficient.
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Accompanied by SSEF report no. 73605, stating that the central pearl was found to be natural, saltwater.

Provenance

Ordered by Prince Viggo of Denmark, Count of Rosenborg (1893-1970) for his wife, née Eleanor Margaret Green (1895-1966). The couple was childless and the jewel was passed down to Prince Viggo's brother, Prince Axel (1888-1964), and his wife, Princess Margaretha (1899-1977), then by descent to the present owner.

Catalogue Note

This tiara was ordered by Prince Viggo of Denmark, Count of Rosenborg (1893-1970), from Aage Dragsted, an important jeweller of the Royal courts of Denmark, Greece and Russia, in the early 1930s, for his wife, Countess of Rosenborg, née Eleanor Margaret Green (1895-1966).

Eleanor Margaret Green was born on November 5th, 1895, in New York City, daughter of James Oliver Green and Amy Beaumont Hewitt. In 1923, Eleanor travelled to Copenhagen to visit her cousin, Baroness von Schilling. During her stay in Denmark, she met the Danish Prince Viggo Christian Adolf Georg, son of Prince Vlademar of Denmark and Princess Marie of Orléans, and a cousin of King Christian of Denmark. Eleanor and the Prince announced their engagement and he renounced his right to the throne in order to marry the American commoner. He was subsequently given the title Count of Rosenborg. After their wedding in New York City, the Count and Countess moved to Copenhagen.

Following their death, the tiara was bequested to the Count’s brother, Prince Axel of Denmark, and his wife, Princess Margrethe, née Margrethe Bernadotte, Princess of Sweden and Norway. The tiara thus passed onto their son, Count Flemming of Rosenborg, whose wife, Ruth, wore the tiara at important royal events such as King Harald of Norway’s 70th birthday, the 2001 wedding of Haakon, Crown Prince of Norway, and Mette-Marit Tjessem Høiby, and Queen Margrethe of Denmark’s 60th birthday.

The kokoshnik style, in which this tiara was created, evolved from a variety of traditional Russian headdresses worn by women in the northern regions of Russia from the 16th to 19th centuries. The term kokosh derives from old Slavic word for hen or rooster which first appeared in 16th century documents. Over time, the term kokoshnik came to be associated with tall, crescent or nimbus shaped headdresses which tied at the back of the head with a thick ribbon in a large bow. These were often embroidered with pearls or gold work, and decorated with floral and foliate motifs. With the revival of Russian national culture in the early 19th century, tiaras became official court dress for royal and aristocratic women. The new kokoshnik tiaras were as much inspired by authentic Russian kokoshniks, still worn by the working class, as they were by Tudor English, French hoods and the Italian Renaissance fashions.

This garnet and diamond tiara illustrates the Russian kokoshnik influence in West European royal courts at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries, through its crescent shape, use of pearls, and floral, foliate and ribbon motifs.

Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels

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