Saturday, 29 January 2011

Russian Kokoshnik tiara of Queen Alexandra

Originally given to Queen Alexandra on her Silver Wedding Anniversary in 1888.
TIARAS of the Tudors Ladies - The Tudors Wiki
Queen Mary of Teck,
Queen Consort of Great Britain
Queen Alexandra and her Russian Kokoshnik
HM Alexandra of Denmark, Queen consort of the United Kingdom
The tiara was presented to Princess Alexandra on her Silver Wedding Anniversary in 1888 by Lady Salisbury on behalf of 365 peeresses of the United Kingdom. Alexandra had requested that the tiara be in the fashionable design of a Russian girl's headdress, a kokoshnik. She knew the design well from a similar tiara belonging to her sister Marie Feodorovna, the Empress of Russia. The tiara was made by Garrard Jewellers and supervised by Lady Salisbury. It is made up of 61 platinum bars and encrusted with 488 diamonds, the largest of which being 3.25 carats each. Princess Alexandra wrote to her aunt, the Grand Duchess of Mecklenburg-Strelitz
"The presents are quite magnificent. The ladies of society gave a lovely diamond spiked tiara".
One of the interesting characteristics of Kokoshnik or fringe tiaras is that each piece is attached only to the base, so it is free to move unless fastened into a frame. That is why they are often worn as necklaces or swag corsages as well. The tiara in question would not need to be altered from the version Alexandra wore to the version we see now, if the central jewel is indeed a hairpin. Hairpins were common in the 1870s and 1880s, so this seems viable enough. In order for the tiara to appear "tighter" as it did, for example, when HM wore it recently in Canada, it only need be fastened into a more restrictive frame.
The tiara has been a royal favorite ever since.

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