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The Princess Royal's Sapphires - The Romanov Imperial Sapphire Necklace /Devante de Corsage of Grand Duchess Olga Feodorovna


Viscount Lascelles presented his royal bride with an Imperial Romanov jewel. The sapphire cluster devant de corsage with diamond swags and loops had formerly been the property of Grand Duke Mikhail Mikhailovich, who had inherited it from his mother Grand Duchess Olga Feodorovna, née a Grand Duchess of Baden.

The Grand Duke had married morganatically Sophie von Merenberg who was created Countess de Torby by the Grand Duke of Luxembourg. They lived a glamorous life in France and England until the 1917 Russian Revolution curtailed their source of revenue. Like many Russian émigrés, the Grand Duke had to dispose of jewellery on an international market flooded with Russian gems. The jewel was purchased by Viscount Lascelles and graced the Princess on many public occasions, including the coronations of her brother, King George VI and her niece, Queen Elizabeth II.


The devant de corsage was exhibited in 1930 courtesy of the Princess Royal, who is pictured in 1922 dressed for Court wearing the jewel along with the Queen Victoria cluster necklace with pendant, Queen Mary's sapphire brooch in the centre of her diamond tiara and the Prince of Wales' bracelet>>


"This jewel was composed of seven graduated sapphire and diamond clusters of scrolled ribbon design, which could be detached and worn as brooches, each supporting a deep fringe of diamonds with a sapphire centre, and connected by fringed swag motifs."

Originally, the necklace probably had an additional inner course of diamonds and/or sapphires. It was sold at auction on 23 November 1960 at Christie's for £28,000 to Levy-Cohen who was acting for Harry Winston of New York City and has not been seen since.


Sources: The Times, 24 November 1960; Christie's, Christie's Review of the Year 1960. Christie's, Catalogue of Highly Important Jewels; Life

Thank you to Laura, Uwe and Jonathan!

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