Not Queen Alexandra's Mystery Amethyst Tiara

Tiara Tuesday: Queen Alexandra’s Mystery Amethyst Tiara

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This one became a rabbit hole, folks. First, you start off by choosing a simple picture labeled “Queen Alexandra’s Amethyst Tiara.”

Then you dig around to see where that tiara is now.

Then you find some sources that say this is the same tiara worn by Queen Alexandra in the photo below, taken in 1889. Then you find other sources that disagree. Then you realize holy shit, these really are two different tiaras…but no one knows what the above tiara actually is, because everyone thinks it’s the tiara it’s not.

Then you realize that’s why some people refer to this as Queen Alexandra’s Mystery Amethyst Tiara.

Queen Alexandra's Mystery Amethyst Tiara

Deep breath.

Alexandra’s actual tiara, the one she wears in the photo above, contains seven Siberian amethysts, a gift from her brother-in-law, Tsar Alexander III. When Alexandra died in 1925, the tiara went to her oldest daughter, Louise, the Duchess of Fife.

Louise didn’t need to fuck around with semi-precious stones, however, because she owned this.

She passed the tiara to her second daughter, Maud, Countess of Southesk.

Where Is the Tiara Today?

Maud died in 1945 and her jewels were auctioned off in 1946. The tiara sold for £1,750 pounds ($98,867 in today’s dollars). It was bought by someone who isn’t me and has never been seen again. Maybe it fell into that same weird time trap Claire fell into in Outlander? Maud and her husband did live on a farm in Scotland, to the east of the Highlands. It’s not out of the realm of possibility.

Maybe this tiara fell into that same weird time trap Claire fell into in Outlander. Maud and her husband did live on a farm in Scotland, to the east of the Highlands. It’s not out of the realm of possibility.

WTF Postscript: To all the people online who label the mystery tiara as Alexandra’s tiara…if it hasn’t been seen since 1946 and no one knows who owns it, how could anyone have a modern, high-res photo of the thing? Just a question.

So What the Hell Is the Tiara in the Top Photo?

After an hour or so of research, I found it. It’s a 1910 Cartier tiara on display in Museo degli Argenti, housed in a wing of the Pitti Palace in Florence. How the hell did it get there and whose the hell was it?

I have no idea.

How Would I Wear It?

It’s not my favorite tiara, I’ll tell you that. It’s delicate and graceful, but the diamonds are too small and spread out and the amethysts look like throat lozenges to me. That does make it an interesting sick-day tiara that you wear at home, on the couch, while you’re binge-watching Supernatural and mainlining cherry brandy. Wait. You’re not supposed to mainline cherry brandy when you’re sick? Well, shit. That might explain a few things.

In the meantime, the next time I come down with the flu, I’m grabbing this tiara, my favorite faux-fur blanket, and settling down with Netflix. Just pin that sucker to your head securely enough so you don’t chuck it across the room every time you sneeze.

That’s Queen Alexandra’s mystery amethyst tiara!

Want to suggest a tiara? Drop its name or a photo link into the comments. I’ll do my best to find something interesting in its history.

Image Credits

Alexandra, header image: Robert Jefferson Bingham, public domain via Wikimedia Commons
Alexandra, in tiara: W. & D. Downey, public domain via Wikimedia Commons

The Girl in the Tiara: The Sparkle Is Real

Love Royalty and Tiaras?

You might like my other site, The Girl in the Tiara. I created it to write about amazing royal women and their tiaras. It’s like Drunk History meets The Crown.


Tiara Tuesday Archives

Tiara Tuesday Archives

Visit the archives to read about more royal shenanigans. And by shenanigans, I mean war, revolution, betrayal, lust, murder, diamonds, and Princess Stéphanie’s chafing dish.

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I write thrillers, romance, historical fiction, tiara posts, and more. Right now, I'm working on a nonfiction trilogy: Grand Duchess Hilda of Baden, Grand Duchess Elizaveta Mikhailovna of Russia, and Princess Augusta of Brunswick.


    1. Author

      Hi, Suzanne! Thanks so much…I’m glad you liked the post. I love it when a tiara’s story has a bit of mystery and intrigue to it. So much fun to write about!

  1. Queen Mary’s/Marie Feodorovna’s  Russian Sapphire Bandeau… donned by Party Princess Mags…lost to time? pawned for gimlet?

    1. Author

      Hi Marc! Odds are this one is still in the queen’s jewelry vault. We know Margaret wore it with the centerpiece swapped out, as Queen Mary had (with the sapphire replaced by an emerald). She also wore what looks like the original sapphire centerpiece as a brooch. But no one’s seen either a brooch or the reconfigured tiara since. My guess is the tiara and the sapphire brooch were returned to Elizabeth’s closet after Margaret’s death. They’re probably gathering dust until a special occasion or new wearer emerges (as was the case with the diamond bandeau and emerald kokoshnik tiaras we saw at the royal weddings last year). I did see one source mention that Mary bought the tiara from Princess Nicholas of Greece. If this is true, I think this tiara may have originated with her mother, Grand Duchess Vladimir.

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