A rare and magnificent royal diamond and emerald tiara sold at Sotheby’s last week to an anonymous buyer for $12.76 million(11.28 million Swiss francs) simultaneously setting both a world record price at auction for a tiara as well as any emerald jewelry piece. Thought to have belonged to the personal collection of French Emperor Napoleon III’s wife, Eugenie, pre-sale estimates for this piece were between $5 million-$10 million.
The tiara features 11 pear-shaped exceedingly rare emeralds collectively weighing over 500 carats. Each emerald is held in diamond set cusp motifs, with the largest nine emeralds tipped by rose diamonds. Though the emeralds have been said to be of Colombian origin, they have been polished in a manner that indicate they were finished in India. The thick drill holes within the emeralds is typical of the way 17th century royalty wore jewelry where gemstones were often removed and placed in different settings or worn around the neck in a “bead-like” fashion.
In the video below, David Bennett, gives an intimate view of the Tiara and the history that surrounds it. “For me, this is the most glamorous jewel we have offered in the past 30 years. I can think of no other jewel that sums up the glamor and the grandeur of the Belle Epoque as well as this.”