Royal families, aristocrats and the upper echelons of high society have always favored jewelry as the ultimate status symbol – priceless family heirlooms to pass down through generations. With their enduring links to the aforementioned ‘elite’, Chaumet has been supplying and creating exceptional jewels throughout its 240-year history. An exhibition ‘Chaumet in Majesty – Jewels of Sovereigns since 1780’, featuring some of the world’s most exquisite tiars, took place last year at the resplendent Grimaldi Forum in Monaco. Now, we take a closer look at some of the pieces within Chaumet’s breathtaking archieve – pieces once worn by the likes of Empress Josephine (Chaumet’s original muse), and Princess Grace herself.
Tiara belonging to Princess Henckel von Donnersmarck – attribute to Joseph Chaumet (1852-1928) circa 1900. Platinum, gold, silver, emeralds, diamonds Count Guido Henckel von Donnersmarck amassed a huge fortune from his steelworks and coal mining businesses; he would commission Chaumet to create generous gifts for both his first wife, Esther Lauchman, and second wife, a Russian artistocrat named Katharina Wassilievna de Slepzow. The origin of this tiara, dating from the turn of the twentieth century, is complex. The central band, resting on a garland of laurel leaves, is formed of eleven cushin – cut yellowish diamonds alternating with pairs of lily-of-the-valley. Crowing the diamond-set base are eleven pear – shaped emeralds, traditionally believed to come from the private collection of Empress Eugenie, wife of Napoleon III. When the empress went into exile, she left the Crown jewels behind but took away her large private collection – this tiara is a fitting reminder of her love for emeralds.
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