RUSSIAN IMPERIAL JEWELS
In this post I will discuss the Russian Nuptial Jewels worn by several of the Russian Imperial brides throughout the centuries and which have traditionally included the Russian Nuptial Tiara and Crown, also the Russian Nuptial Necklace and Earrings and the large Russian Nuptial Brooch that was used to fasten the ermine robes worn by the bride at the wedding ceremony.
Russian Nuptial Tiara
The Russian Nuptial Tiara has been worn by several Russian Imperial brides, including tsarinas and grand duchesses throughout the centuries. The large diamond tiara was created around 1800 by Jacob David Duval, a St. Petersburg jeweler, for Empress Elizabeth Alexeievna. The largest stone set in the center of the lower portion of the tiara is a remarkable 13 carat pink diamond; in addition there is a row of briolette diamonds topped by diamond uprights. Surprisingly, the tiara survived the Russian Revolution and is now displayed at the Kremlin Armory in Moscow.
Russian Nuptial Crown
As part of the Eastern Orthodox Holy Matrimony, not only are rings exchanged as part of the ceremony, but crowns are also placed on the heads of both the bride and groom. The Russian Nuptial Crown was made around 1844, possibly by Nichols and Plincke jewelers. There are 320 large diamonds weighing approximately 182 carats and 1,200 smaller diamonds totaling 80 carats; it is thought that most of the diamonds were previously used to embellish the clothing of Catherine II. The diamonds are set in silver and mounted onto a crimson red velvet crown. At a specific point in the wedding ceremony, the Nuptial Crown is placed behind the Nuptial Tiara.
Records indicate that the Nuptial Crown was sold by Christie’s Auction House in 1927. It was acquired by Marjorie Merriweather Post, an American businesswoman and heiress of the Post Cereal Company which she expanded into General Foods. In the 1930s, when her husband was the U.S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union she continued collecting Imperial art and artifacts and eventually her collections was given to the Hillwood Museum in Washington, D.C.
Shown above is a small portion of the Laurits Tuxen painting which depicts the 1894 wedding of Emperor Nicholas II and Princess Alexandra, the princess is seen wearing both the Russian Nuptial Tiara and Crown.
Russian Rivère Diamond Necklace and Earrings
In addition to the Russian Imperial Tiara and Crown, the Romanov brides would wear other stunning diamond jewelry. The Russian Rivère Diamond Necklace was a set of large diamonds and pear-shaped diamond drops that weighed a total of 475 carats; the necklace was once part of the Russian Imperial Crown Jewels. During the time of the Russian Revolution the necklace was sold to an unknown buyer and has since mysteriously disappeared. The matching earrings were originally commissioned by Catherine II, the large Brazilian diamonds are set in gold and silver and styled to resemble cherries and stems. The earrings are so heavy to wear that a special support wire was fashioned to be wrapped behind and over the ears.
Imperial Mantle Clasp
Over the wedding gown, the bride would wear the Imperial Mantle made of embroidered golden fabric edged with ermine; the mantle was also worn for coronations. To fasten the mantle a magnificent clasp was set with diamonds of various sizes and shapes, it measured approximately 8 inches across.
Special Note: Portions of this post were originally published on my other blog, theenchantedmanor.com. If interested in more information regarding other Romanov Jewels, please click on two additional posts about the House of Fabergé and Fabergé Eggs. The first post gives a brief history of the Fabergé Company started by Peter Carl Fabergé. The second post gives information about the beautiful jeweled 54 Imperial Eggs that Fabergé created for the Russian Tsar Alexander III and later his son Tsar Nicholas II between 1885 and 1917.