Empress Eugénie’s Pearl and Diamond Tiara

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Empress Eugénie, consort of Napoleon III, was the owner of numerous magnificent jewels and tiaras. Though many of her jewels were made by court jeweler Bapst, other jewelers also had a hand in creating jewelry for her. Today’s subject is Empress Eugénie’s beautiful pearl and diamond tiara created by jeweler Gabriel Lemonnier.

The tiara has 212 drop-shaped and round pearls weighing 2,520 metric grams. The pearls are surrounded by 1,998 small diamonds weighing 63.3 carats. The tiara was once accompanied by a matching coronet, which had 274 round and drop-shaped pearls, though sadly this piece is now lost to history.

Wikimedia Commons. In this portrait by Winterhalter, Eugénie is wearing her pearl and diamond tiara. Also, note her custom-made coronation crown sitting on the pillow.

Unfortunately, along with the other crown jewels, the tiara was sold in 1887. It came into the possession of a German princely family, Thurn und Taxis, where the tiara remained intact through the years.

Wikimedia Commons. In this reproduction of Winterhalter’s portrait, you can catch a better glimpse of the coronet that once accompanied the tiara.

Decades later, in 1980, the pearl headpiece was worn as a bridal tiara on the wedding day of Countess Gloria von Schönburg-Glauchau to Johannes, 11th Prince of Thurn und Taxis. When the prince died ten years later, Gloria had to sell the tiara to settle financial debt.

The Louvre Museum purchased the tiara, returning it home to France, where it’s been on display ever since.

Sources

The Louvre Museum

Tiaras: A History of Splendour by Geoffrey C. Munn

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