When researching the lost Russian Tiaras, one can’t help but be a little sad. So many lovely jewels who’s whereabouts are unknown. Auctioned off (or worse) in the early 1900s never to be seen again. And so was the fate of Alexandra Feodorovna’s Emerald Tiara (sometimes called The Columbian Tiara).
Requested by the Tsarina herself and designed by Sophia Schwan for Bolin in 1900, the silver and gold tiara features a centerpiece sugarloaf 23ct emerald, with additional emerald accents and alternating ribbon and scroll motifs. It is said the diamonds, which completed the rest of the circlet (a tiara that forms a full circle), were from South Africa. How multi-cultural.
But the Tsarina didn’t stop with just the tiara. She also had some companion pieces made because let’s face it, you can’t just go around wearing only a spectacular tiara. What would the rest of your body be adorned with? Added to the tiara was a necklace with a similar scroll and ribbon design, also created by Bolin, as well as a devant-de-corsage (also known by our British friends as a stomacher; it was a large brooch worn on the front of one’s blouse), designed by Oscar Piel, working for Fabergé.
Alexandra was painted wearing the tiara and the brooch in 1907 by N.K. Bodarevsky (now if we only knew where those necklaces were, as well). As with the other Romanov jewels, the were confiscated by the Bolsheviks and then after the Tsar, his wife and their family were executed, they were displayed and some sold. Along with the fate of so many other pieces on the table above, there’s no public knowledge of where these pieces ended up. It’s hard to imagine that Alexandra Feodorovna’s Emerald Tiara and complimentary pieces didn’t meet the same fate as Elizabeth Alexeievna’s Diamond Kokoshnik and are still intact and not broken up and sold off. But we can hope, right?