The 6 Most Expensive Tiaras

The 6 Most Expensive Tiaras

Learn more about the provenance and history of most expensive tiara's
Learn more about the provenance and history of most expensive tiara's

Throughout history, tiaras have been a symbol of power, regality, and status. Today tiaras continue to stand out as some of the most sought-after collector pieces. From the provenance to the craftsmanship, tiaras are exceptional conversation pieces. The popularity of wearing tiaras has fluctuated throughout history, however since the 20th century there has been a renewed sense of appreciation for the jeweled headwear. Today tiaras are worn for various occasions including weddings, high-profile events, galas, and other extravagant occasions.

History Of Tiaras

Since ancient times there has been a tradition of wearing elaborate head wear to symbolize significance. The Greeks and Romans wore gold braided leaves in the shape of a crown to signify high honors. In medieval times, crowns and jewels were worn by brides. Tiaras became synonymous with royalty in the 18th century. During this time, coronations were cemented by the crowning of a new heir to the throne. While many of the tiaras have not survived since these early periods, they have been captured in classical art pre-dating the neoclassical period. The beauty, permanence, and iconography of tiaras have continued into the 20th century instilling the fantasy of what one was into the present-day fashion scene.

Sotheby's has had the privilege to auction off some of the most spectacular Tiaras in the world; here is an insider look at the six most expensive tiaras sold by Sotheby’s in 2023.

Magnificent and Historic Natural Pearl and Diamond Tiara, 19th Century 

In May of 2023, this one-of-a-kind tiara sold at auction for 9,017,000 HKD, approximately 1,152,600 USD. The tiara can be worn as a tiara and as a necklace when taken off the metal frame. It was a gift for Maria Vittoria dal Pozzo della Cisterna, who was the 6th Princess of Cisterna d'Asti and of Belriguardo. In 1867, she was married to Prince Amedeo of Savoy, Duke of Aosta, King of Spain. Not only does this tiara carry a fascinating provenance, it is composed of the most spectacular cushion-shaped single-cut diamonds and natural pearls. Each natural pearl is supported by a rose diamond mount adding to the luster and value of the tiara. An accompanied SSEF report, states that the eleven pearls were found to be natural, saltwater; further accompanied by an appendix letter stating, 'The natural pearl tiara...possesses extraordinary characteristics and merits special mention and appreciation...assembling a selection of natural pearls of this size and quality is very rare and in combination with its documented royal provenance, this historic pearl tiara can be considered a true treasure of nature'.

Tiara From the collection of Princess Maria Immaculata of Bourbon1884-1899

This magnificent tiara from the late 19th century was sold at auction for 812,800 CHF, approximately 898,000 USD. It is constructed from natural pearls and diamonds. The tiara is an openwork, garland design, set with drop features to slightly baroque drop-shaped natural pearls set throughout with cushion-shaped and circular-cut diamonds. Made by Köchert, a Viennese jeweler, who is one of the most widely remembered jewelers today. Köchert’'s wonderfully preserved archive gives a rare glimpse into 19th-century Viennese jewelry production. This tiara is no exception, it is a historical and important natural pearl and diamond tiara from the collection of Princess Maria Immaculata of Bourbon-Two Sicilies, Archduchess of Austria-Tuscany (1844-1899). The central elements are detachable and it comes with two hairpins. It was common during this time for tiaras to be multi-functional and worn as necklaces or bracelets.

Impressive Ruby and Diamond Tiara, Circa 1896

Rubies and diamonds are the perfect combination in this unique tiara from 1896. This is the third highest-selling tiara in 2023 from a Sotheby’s auction for an impressive 762,000 CHF which is around 841,9000 USD. This tiara was part of the estate of Isabella, Duchess of Württemberg (1871-1904). In 1894, she married Prince Johann George of Saxony (1869-1938). This tiara stands out for the one of a kind rubies and bow ribbon set design. It also includes a set of three matching hairpins.

Superb Diamond Tiara From The 1930s

This tiara is an emblematic timepiece of 1930s fashions. It is known as a “Halo Tiara”, as it is meant to be worn at a steep angle, high on the crown of the head, encircling the wearer with a halo-like blaze of precious stones. The style was developed in the 1930s, serving as the perfect complement to the closely cropped, waved hairstyles that were in favor of fashionable women at the time. This tiara sold at auction for 596,900 CHF which is $659,000 USD. It is extraordinary because of its graduated series of alternating palmette and arrowhead motifs, each palmette motif supporting a cushion-shaped diamond, set throughout with circular-cut and cushion-shaped diamonds, the band enhanced with baguette diamonds. The immense amount of detail and craftsmanship within this diamond tiara does not go unnoticed.

Superb Ruby and Diamond Tiara / Necklace

From the Collection of Archduchess Margarete Sophie of Austria, Duchess of Württemberg (1870-1902), this superb ruby and diamond necklace/tiara is from Köchert, circa 1893. It sold at a Sotheby's auction for 546,100 CHF approximately 602,300 USD. designed as a naturalistic spray of wild roses, where the stamen and rose-buds are set with cushion-shaped and oval rubies. The leaves are pavé-set with cushion-shaped and rose diamonds. Additionally, it includes six brooch fittings and two hairpin fittings, fittings in a fitted case stamped by Köchert.

This transformable necklace corresponds to the wedding gift that Emperor Franz Joseph purchased at Köchert for his niece Archduchess Margarete Sophie of Austria. This was for her wedding to Albrecht, Duke and Crown Prince of Württemberg in 1893. The necklace was intended to form a suite with the ruby and diamond brooch by Köchert. When Archduchess Margarete Sophie passed away in 1902, the ruby and diamond suite was part of her estate.

Natural Pearl and Diamond Tiara, Late 19th Century and Later

This tiara from the Crown Jewels of Éire sold at auction for 393,700 CHF which is approximately 434,200 USD. Ethel Jane Foster was the son of Baroness Inchiquin (1868-1940) whose family was the most noble in Ireland and has been a key player in Irish history for over a millennium. From the leading Noble House in the Irish Peerage comes this exquisite natural pearl and diamond tiara from the late 19th century. The tiara has a unique foliate design set with cushion-shaped and circular-cut diamonds. It is enhanced with rose diamonds, supporting a slightly graduated series of drop-shaped to oval natural pearls. The natural pearls make this tiara stand out for its opulence and heritage.

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