Treasures from Chatsworth

Treasure of the Week: The Devonshire Tiara

By Sotheby's
The Devonshire Collection encompasses thousands of objects that have been carefully collected over 500 years. Because of this extraordinary breadth, choosing the 43 pieces that would travel to Sotheby's New York as part of the Treasures from Chatsworth exhibition was a challenging feat. Spotlighted here is a veritable crown jewel: the Devonshire Tiara.
The Devonshire Tiara, on display in Treasures from Chatsworth: the Exhibition at Sotheby's headquarters in New York.

T he Devonshire Tiara, a remarkable example of Victorian jewelry, is a treasure that has been passed down and worn by generations of Cavendish ladies. The tiara was made in 1865 for Lady Louisa Egerton, née Cavendish, to be worn on the day of her wedding to Hon. Francis Egerton. Following tradition, the tiara was also worn by the present Duchess Amanda on her wedding day in 1967, and by her daughter, Lady Celina, on her wedding day in 1995.

On the left, a photograph of Lady Louisa Egerton, née Cavendish, for whom the Devonshire Tiara was originally made. To the right, The Duke of Devonshire and Duchess Amanda on their wedding day in 1967; Duchess Amanda wears the Devonshire Tiara.
Lady Celina Cavendish and her father, the Duke of Devonshire, on her wedding day in 1995; Lady Celina is wearing the Devonshire Tiara. Glen Segal

Cast in silver and gold with numerous diamonds of various size and cuts, the tiara truly dazzles. But it's also versatile: various pieces of the design can be removed, allowing the tiara to be work as a necklace or divided up into brooches.

In the half-millennium the Cavendish family has lived at Chatsworth, the jewelry collection has gained a number of remarkable pieces. But instead of a continuous record of possession, the trove is an eclectic accumulation of gifts, purchases and ceremonial jewels that speak to the private affections and public duty alike. An object which holds both familial and symbolic value, The Devonshire Tiara is central to Treasures of Chatsworth exhibition at Sotheby's.

The Devonshire Tiara from All Angles

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