Treasures from Chatsworth, Episode 11: The Devonshire Parure
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“Usually jewelry was left to daughters,” says the 12th Duke of Devonshire, “and then they left it to their daughters, and it got further and further away, so there is not very much jewelry which has been passed down from generations.” One extremely notable exception at Chastworth is the Parure, a suite of seven pieces commissioned by the 6th Duke of Devonshire to be worn by his niece, who accompanied him to Czar Nicolas II’s coronation in Moscow in 1896. The set, which includes tiaras and bracelets, incorporates 200-year-old intaglios long in Devonshire collection. By using the carved stones, the pieces hold an ancestral legacy. The Parure, the 12th Duke points out, has likely never been worn in the 20th century. “It’s not really a wearable ensemble,” he says. “I can only believe that when it was worn for the coronation, it was worn for the arrival and then someone took it away.” Inspired to add to Chatsworth’s contemporary jewelry collection, the current Duchess commissioned legendary British jewellery designer Andrew Grima to create several stunning pieces. One particularly wearable item is a gold brooch that Grima designed after a plastic drinking straw his daughter had tied into a knot and left on his desk.