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April 17, 2016 3:29 pm  #1

TBF-QM-3 Queen Mary’s Greek Tiara

3. Queen Mary’s Greek Tiara

   This “new Greek-style tiara” was made in 1913 for Queen Mary by E. Wolff & Co. and was retailed by Garrards.[1] The design for this tiara features in Munn’s Tiaras.[2]

   This tiara was described by Munn as being “decorated with a graduated frieze of stylized honeysuckle”,[3] which matches the description from Garrards, who described it as “a Greek honeysuckle pattern Tiara, with rising centre”.

   It was made using diamonds from ‘Queen Mary’s County of Surrey Necklace/Tiara’ (other than the large diamonds which had been used to alter ‘Queen Mary’s Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara’); and also using the remaining “33 brilliants  3 rose diamonds” from ‘Queen Mary’s Ladies of England Necklace/Tiara’ (that had not been used in the construction of ‘Queen Mary’s Lover’s Knot Tiara’).[4] As well as 426 brilliants provided for by Garrards, all at the cost of £420.[5]

   When it was designed and made the central aperture was left empty to accommodate the Cullinan V brooch, as can be seen worn in Munn;[6] it was also made to accommodate a “large sapphire and diamond Brooch”,[7] as Queen Mary wore,[8] and also a “pink topaz  diamond Brooch”.[9]

   At some point this tiara was altered, with the top of the central aperture lowered with the removal of a band of diamonds and 9 large brilliants.

   In 1935 Queen Mary gave this tiara to Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester, upon the occasion of her marriage; it is around this time that a honeysuckle motif was created to fill the central aperture.[10] The tiara is illustrated in this state in Munn, and was also worn by Princess Alice to both the 1937 Coronation and the 1953 Coronation.[11]

   Furthermore, in 1953 upon Queen Mary’s death, Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester was bequeathed the pink topaz and diamond brooch, which is still worn with this tiara by the present Duchess, although this stone has been incorrectly referred to both as a Kunzite,[12] and as a “pink beryl”.[13]
   The present Duchess of Gloucester has, on occasion, worn both an emerald and diamond cluster brooch in the central aperture of this tiara, and ‘Queen Mary’s Baroque Pearl Brooch’, which had been a wedding present to Princess Alice in 1935.

   Roberts also referenced the Garrard accounts for “A diamond Greek pattern Tiara, with 3 Marquise brilliant clusters between honeysuckle sprays wreath border”, which was billed at £887 10s, each, for George V and Queen Mary.[14] However this is an incorrect reference, as it does not concern ‘Queen Mary’s Greek Tiara’ tiara; rather it relates to the tiara that George V and Queen Mary gave as a wedding gift to Princess Alexandra of Fife in 1913, which was depicted in the Illustrated London News,[15] and described in The Times as being “a magnificent diamond tiara, composed of hundreds of stones of varying size, with a large central stone”.[16]

1. Roberts, The Queen’s Diamonds, p. 164
2. Munn, Tiaras, pl. 178
3. Ibid., pl. 177
4. Roberts, The Queen’s Diamonds, p. 164; GA Garrard RL3, fol. 95, 21 April 1914
5. Roberts, The Queen’s Diamonds, p. 164; GA Garrard RL3, fol. 95, 21 April 1914
6. Munn, Tiaras, pl. 176 
7. Roberts, The Queen’s Diamonds, p. 164; GA Garrard RL3, fol. 95, 21 April 1914
8. Leslie Field, The Queen’s Jewels: The Personal Collection of Elizabeth II, (London: Abradale Press, 1987), p. 81
9. Ibid. p. 81
10. Roberts, The Queen’s Diamonds, p. 164; RA JEWEL/GARRARD/QM, fol. 129; RA QM/PRIV/CC94, pl. 41
11. Munn, Tiaras, pl. 179
12. Munn, Tiaras, pl. 180 
13. Field, The Queen’s Jewels, p. 81
14. Roberts, The Queen’s Diamonds, p. 164; GA Garrard RL3, fol. 17, 11 April 1914;
GA Garrard RL3, fol. 93, 29 July 1913
15. Illustrated London News, 18 October 1913
16. The Times, 14 October 1913, p. 8


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