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Splurge: Feel like a queen in this S$84,000 tiara, which was once owned by royalty

Whether it’s the late Prince’s boots, screen siren Marilyn Monroe’s dresses, or even a two-year-old slice of cake that was served at Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding, auctions are where one can easily expect to find coveted items once owned by the rich and famous. Be it out of intense fandom, nostalgia, or simply bragging rights, there’s usually someone willing to pay top dollar for such paraphernalia. That piece of cake, for instance, fetched S$5,648 — an amount that could finance multiple sumptuous (and edible) meals at our favourite restaurants.

One of the latest intriguing items to hit the auction block doesn’t boast the same celebrity provenance, but it once belonged to European royalty — and looks every bit the part. It’s an 1874 tiara obtained from the collection of Princess Mathilde von Württemberg of Urach, and goes under the hammer today at Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels sale in Geneva. It’s estimated to achieve between S$83,915 to S$139,858.

Princess Mathilde’s tiara.

The glittering, foliage-inspired crown features seven detachable ears of wheat that culminate in a central floral motif. Two smaller floral motifs can be found on each end of the tiara, which is completely covered in a glorious assortment of cushion shaped, rose-cut and circular-cut diamonds. The beautiful jewel is also crafted with pendant hooks and hair fittings — so it sits snugly on the wearer’s head. It comes in a fitted case stamped by historical Parisian jeweller Mon Leriche Durand Succ.

The tiara comes presented in this ornate blue box.

Princess Mathilde isn’t a name that’s as iconic as the likes of Princess Diana or Princess Grace of Monaco. But what’s fascinating about her lineage is her ties to the House of Urach, which reigned over the Kingdom of Lithuania for a short while in 1918. Urach was also a branch of the House of Württemberg, a historical German dynasty and royal family that ruled the territory of Württemberg. The latter no longer exists, and now comes under the German state of Baden-Württemberg, where Stuttgart is located.

In short, getting your hands on this tiara is akin to owning a piece of German and European history that dates back to ages past, even before World War I. Add in the fact that it’s the product of a jeweller that’s no longer in business — which makes it a rare piece that no one else has.

The full suite of jewels, if you intend on getting them all.

The auction also features a few other jewels from Princess Mathilde’s treasure trove, such as a diamond necklace with circular-cut and cushion-shaped diamonds, a diamond brooch, diamond pendant, and dangling diamond earrings. No prizes for guessing what was the princess’ favourite gemstone.

Other highlights include ‘The Raj Pink’ — the world’s largest known fancy intense pink diamond, expected to sell for S$27.4 million to S$41.1 million– and a Moussaieff blue diamond ring that’s framed with pink diamonds and estimated to fetch between S$19.2 million to S$24.7 million. Completely worth the splurge, we reckon. Click here for more details, and to see the full listing of the scintillating jewels available at Sotheby’s Geneva sale.

(All photos: Sotheby’s)

Splurge: Feel like a queen in this S$84,000 tiara, which was once owned by royalty

Sara Yap

Deputy Director, Digital Operations (Asia)

Sara Yap is passionate about all things dining and jewellery, and is constantly seeking out exciting restaurants and glittering trinkets. When she’s not feasting in the name of work, chatting with talented chefs, or daydreaming about coloured diamonds, she’s probably binge-watching the latest Netflix series or indulging in her guilty pleasure — Hollywood celebrity gossip. Sara is a journalism graduate from Nanyang Technological University and her work has appeared in The Business Times Lifestyle and Prestige Singapore magazine.


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