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Persian

Tiara mid-nineteenth century

Gold, enamel, diamonds, rubies and pearls | 4.7 x 13.7 x 11.9 cm (whole object) | RCIN 11356

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  • On 30th August 1838, an Envoy of Sayyid Sa’id, the ruler of Muscat, presented several gifts to Queen Victoria to mark her coronation two months earlier. Among them was this unusual ‘tiara of Persian stones’ (QV Journal, 30 August 1838). Muscat had strong trading connections with Qajar Iran and the tiara was probably made to commission. A similar piece is described in the memoirs of Sayyid Sa’id’s daughter Salame (later Emily Reute) as having been ordered for her elder sister. She records ‘my father made her a present of a splendid and very precious crown, which he had expressly ordered from Persia for her. This magnificent diadem was made of golden palm leaves, richly set with diamonds, decreasing in size from the large centre stone. It was of a shape that could not be worn with our head-dress, and it was intended more as a valuable investment in case of need’.

    The coronet comprises twelve boteh-shaped gold panels mounted onto a gold band, the outer faces of which are encrusted with large rubies encircled by diamonds, with a smaller ruby set into a leaf shape at their tips. Polychrome enamel panels in three designs (a young female figure in Qajar attire, a young male figure in Regency costume and a rose-and-nightingale motif) decorate the reverse sides. Queen Victoria had the piece reset by the London jewellers Kitching & Abud and it is likely that the smaller seed pearls and upturned drop pearl at the centre were incorporated into the design at this point, possibly re-used from the two pearl necklaces also presented by Sayyid Sa’id to the Queen in 1838.

    Text adapted from L'Empire des Roses: Chefs-d'oeuvre de l'art persan du XIXe siècle (cat.entry: Emily Hannam, 2018).

    Provenance

    Presented to Queen Victoria by Sayyid Sa’id, ruler of Muscat, in 1838. Later reset by the London jewellers Kitching & Abud (active 1824-53) based on designs by the Prince Consort. The tiara was placed in the Indian Room, Buckingham Palace in 1924.
     

  • Medium and techniques

    Gold, enamel, diamonds, rubies and pearls

    Measurements

    4.7 x 13.7 x 11.9 cm (whole object)

    198.5 g (Weight) (whole object)