Designed as a tapered openwork band of scroll motifs set with cushion-shaped diamonds and decorated with step-cut emeralds in gold collets, surmounted by a graduated row of nineteen inverted pear-shaped emerald drops weighing (from the centre) approximately 15ct, 12ct, 12ct, 8ct, 8ct, 6ct, 6ct, 5ct, 5ct, 4ct, 4ct, 3.5ct, 3.5ct, 2.5ct, 2.5ct, 2ct, 2ct, 1.75ct, 1.75ct respectively, inner length approximately 455mm.
Queen Victoria, designed by Prince Albert and made by Joseph Kitching for a price of £1,150
Wartski, One Hundred Tiaras, An Evolution of Style, 1800-1990, 5 - 19 March 1997, no. 69
Kensington Palace, Victoria Revealed, March 2019 - January 2020
Exhibition catalogue, G. Munn ed., One Hundred Tiaras, An Evolution of Style, 1997, pp. 32-33, illustrated
G. Munn, Tiaras: A History of Splendour, Antique Collectors Club, 2001, front dust jacket, pp.72-77 , illustrated
The present tiara is one of several jewellery pieces designed for Queen Victoria by her husband. Prince Albert had previously incorporated the Queen’s birthstone, emerald, into his designs, including in her engagement ring.
To accompany this ring, in 1843 Albert designed a matching necklace, earrings and brooch. Two years later, Prince Albert worked with the court jeweller Joseph Kitching to realise his design for this impressive piece which came to a total cost of £1,150.
The Queen was so thrilled with her emerald-set jewellery she chose to wear them for Winterhalter’s 1846 portrait of the Queen with her family, painted to memorialise her son Prince Alfred’s christening and for another portrait by Winterhalter in 1859.
The emerald and diamond tiara was then given to Queen Victoria’s granddaughter Princess Alexandra, later the Duchess of Fife. It has remained in the family since and was last worn by the 3rd Duchess of Fife at the 1960 State Opening of Parliament.