A spectacular diamond and pearl tiara owned by Hannah de Rothschild, once known as Britain’s wealthiest woman sold at a London auction on Wednesday for £1,161,250 ($1,900,000, 1,305,908 euros).
The Victorian court style tiara features 13 saltwater pearls, six button-shaped ones and seven pear-shaped pearls all surrounded by diamonds. Also sold at auction was a matching diamond and pearl bracelet and brooch belonging to the heiress. The three pieces of jewelry were sold from a private collection for the first time since they were first created 140 years ago.
“The Rosebery pearl and diamond tiara, bracelet and brooch were at the heart of Lady Rosebery’s vast array of magnificent jewels, which rivaled those of crowned heads of Europe at the time,” said Keith Penton, Head of Jewels at Christie’s London.
“They are a rare survival of 19th century English aristocratic splendour, as so much ancestral jewellery has been sold anonymously, remounted or broken down,” he added.
Hannah Primrose de Rothschild was a socially and politically active heiress whose husband Archibald Philip eventually became prime minister. It is believed the jewels were acquired at the time of marriage. Shortly before their wedding, Hannah’s husband described her to a friend in a letter as: ‘very simple, very unspoilt, very clever, very warm hearted and very shy…I never knew such a beautiful character’. Upon her father’s death in 1874, she inhereted various properties including a turreted mansion in Buckinghamshire, a large collection of jewels and £2million – an extraordinary sum of money at the time.