Victoria Melita Feodorovna, Princess of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, Grand
Duchess of Russia, who in 1894 married
Ernst Ludwig of Hesse, (divorced 1900) and in 1905 married the
Grand Duke Cyril Vladimirovitch of Russia.
Her second husband presented her some outstanding jewels, but this
magnificent sapphire and diamond parure with elements of the "Thistle
of Scotland" , the "Rose of England" and the "Irish
Shamrock", as diamond stylised three leaf trefoils, was a heirloom
of her mother Grand Duchess Maria Alexandrovna, the Duchess of Saxe-Coburg.
She received this parure (tiara, necklace, large stomacher), with
the symbolic ornaments of the United Kingdom, from her father, Tsar
Alexander II. on the occasion of her wedding with the son of Queen
Victoria, the Duke of Edinburgh.
The tsar was not fond of this wedding, but, having originally opposed
the betrothal, the Tsar now accepted it with good grace. He showered
some of the finest Romanov jewellery on her, including sapphires left
to him by his mother, as well as a collection comprising the necklace,
earrings, bracelets and brooches once owned by Catherine the Great
and bequeathed to her daughter-in-law.
As the wife of Grand Duke Cyril, eldest son of Grand Duchess Wladimir,
her fortune was limited to her jewelry after fleeing Russia. At that
time the European market was inundated with precious stones from Germany,
Russia and Austria and anyone wishing to sell their jewellery rarely
obtained a fair price, she sold this necklace with the two part stomacher,
with a large triangle diamond as pendant to the clover, after the
revolution to Cartier, Paris.
Above in the picture, the Grand Duchess wore the necklace and stomacher
and a matching unidentified tiara with diamonds and sapphires, the
whereabouts of which is unknown.
Victoria Melita, Princess of Great Britain and Ireland, of Edinburgh,
and of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, was the daughter of Alfred, Duke of
Edinburgh, the second eldest son of Queen Victoria.
Source:John van der Kiste, "Romanovs 1818-1959"
La Corbeille de Mariage
de la grande-duchesse Maria Alexandrovna de Russie