Yes, I know that I’m supposed to be writing about Russian tiaras right now. And yes, I also know that this one is titled the Yugoslavian Diamond Kokoshnik Tiara. Just hold tight with me for a little bit and all will be revealed.
First, let’s understand that a kokoshnik tiara was one of Russian heritage (originally) and only for married women of nobility (sorry, single ladies – you would have had an an open version which was similar, called a povyazka). Which then helps us to understand that THIS tiara was ordered by Grand Duchess Vladimir for her daughter who was about to wed Prince Nicholas of Greece in 1902. The tiara was created by Cartier and the diamond drops could be removed, but beyond that, I was able to find little about the magnificent looking center stone, nor could I find what the total carat weight of the piece likely was.
We do know that the Grand Duchess Elena Vladimirovna (now Princess Nicholas of Greece) wore the tiara often and there’s more than one portrait of her sporting it. Maybe it was a favorite because it represented her wedding day; a day that, after two failed engagements, many thought might not arrive. Apparently little Elena had quite the temper.
But marry she did and her mom ordered this beautiful tiara for her, so it was only fitting that when her own daughter, Princess Olga of Greece and Denmark, married Prince Paul of Yugoslavia in 1923, Elena passed the tiara on to Olga. She also wore the tiara often, being seen in it well into the 1960s, even after being forced into exile.
But yet another Princess was also to wear the tiara – for the wedding of King Baudoin of Belgium in 1960, Princess Paul loaned the tiara to her daughter-in-law, Princess Maria Pia (who happened to be the groom’s first cousin). Maria Pia was the daughter of the last King of Italy and had also been sent with her mother to live in exile (honestly, if you still get to wear tiaras, this exile thing doesn’t seem so bad, even though the diamond drops from this tiara were reportedly sold off to fund life in ). Her marriage to Prince Alexander of Yugoslavia produced two sets of twins, including Prince Dimitri, the famous jewelry designer (he clearly comes by it naturally).
So what became of the Yugoslavian Diamond Kokoshnik Tiara? The tiara has not been seen in years, but it goes to reason that it may be in Prince Dimitri’s collection, as head of the branch of the Yugoslavian Royal family. Or maybe his mother, who divorced his father in 1967, remarried again in 2003 and currently lives in Paris, could tell us the whereabouts. All I know is that I hope it’s still around. What do you think?