Story in the Jewels, The Grand Duchess Vladimir Tiara

Tuesday 06 December 2016, 1:37 pm | Stories





Every piece of jewellery has a story, every piece is chosen with care and though. Symbols of love and occasion to become part of a family lineage, by birth or heart. If you ask anyone about an item of jewellery they are wearing, there will be a story, and it will involve people dear to them. Stories of celebration, stories of hardship.  I’d like to begin a linage of personal stories to share and feature here, with a rather grand and famous piece that has become part of my story too.

The Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna  Vladimir of Russia wearing her Tiara.

1917 Bolshevik Revolution of Russia, Grand Duchess Vladimir escapes with her family, leaving her renowned collection of jewellery including the Vladimir Tiara, hidden in a vault in the Vladimir Palace in St. Petersburg, awaiting to be smuggled out of Russia in a diplomatic bag. The Duchess died soon after she settled in France, August 1920. Her Tiara then purchased by Queen Mary, to join the British Royal family’s collection of jewels, and passed onto her daughter,  Queen Elisabeth II.




The tiara came into my life while working with Garrard Crown Jewellers in London, as it was commissioned to be re-made due to much worn & loved wear & tear. It was said to be the Queens favourite Tiara, a steady stream of images with her wearing it at many occasions continues to flow.



Recently featured in ‘The Crown’ a dramatisation of The Queens life. Queen Elizabeth II played by actress Claire Foy









One of my jobs was to create wax trays to layout the diamonds in correct placement as the framework of the tiara was created. Each diamond seemed so big, bigger than most gems i had seen used as a single gem ring, and there were so many of them. It was really a privilege to have been involved and to have seen the tiara and its amazing diamonds up close.

emeralds pearl





The tiara has interchangeable drop pearl or emeralds. Here are some close up images of the gems, larger in life.

Today we are more and more aware of the full cycle of how we use the earth, be it the hidden gems of the earth like the precious diamonds & emeralds in this tiara, the way they are extracted and mined from the earth, and how the people and man power fit into this equation.

We have a long way to go in repairing damage done, and in bringing awareness to halt further damage or harm to the earth, to the people and communities who work and live by such trade. These are precious gifts of the earth, each with unique qualities. There are ethical and ecological approaches being initiated throughout the industry. Be conscious, appreciate mother natures gifts with a pure heart, while making informed choices.  I will write more on how i deal with these aspects, in future posts.