A diamond and pearl tiara passed down through generations of Italy’s royal family was sold for $1.66 million when it was auctioned in Switzerland recently.
Following the sale in Geneva, the British founded American fine art auction company Sotheby’s said that the price was one of the highest achieved for a tiara in recent years. Experts say the piece is one of the most important tiaras to come to market in a decade that has seen unprecedented demand for head ornaments.
Dating from the second half of the 19th century, the tiara was a wedding gift to Maria Vittoria dal Pozzo upon her marriage in 1867 to Amadeo I of Savoy, later king of Spain. The tiara features graduated scroll motifs set with diamonds and natural pearls and had an estimated price of $1 million to $1.5 million.
“The price achieved today is testament not only to its exceptional craftsmanship and the quality of its materials which makes it a true work of art, but also to its historical and emotional resonance,” said Benoit Repellin, head of Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewels auction.
Also sold was the largest Kashmir sapphire to ever appear at auction, a 55.19 carat stone which fetched $3.8 million. The gemstone was part of 1930s sapphire and diamond brooch set alongside another Kashmir sapphire weighing 25.97 carats. Estimated to fetch $2 million to $3 million, it had belonged to an heiress of the Guinness brewery (world’s largest brewery) fortune.
Meanwhile, for admirers of these pricey ornaments Sotheby’s has launched an Instagram filter to celebrate the auction. The filter, which enables followers to virtually “try on” the tiara against the 3D background of an Italian Palazzo, and capture a picture of themselves wearing the head piece, is available on Sotheby’s main Instagram handle and its dedicated jewelry account.