Who remembers Our antics with this bad-boy? It was many a blog ago. Historically known by the misnomer the Ruby Kokoshnik tiara and while the title “Garnet (and Diamond) Kokoshnik” is vastly more accurate, it hasn’t stuck. Yep…those fuchsia candies are garnets! Who the heck started calling it the Ruby Kokoshnik in the first place? I guess Rosenborg Kokoshnik tiara would be the most accurate and unambiguous name.
Yes, last week I teased you with a picture from the wedding of Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark (then, of Denmark and Iceland) to Ingrid of Sweden in 1935. A vague reference to the woman all the way to the left in the second row. It’s Princess Viggo (née Eleanor Green) also known as the Countess of Rosenborg and she’s wearing the Ruby-really-Garnet-Rosenborg Kokoshnik tiara. If you’ve been with Us for a while, this kokoshnik tiara should look familiar.
This tiara’s crawling ivy chains and festoons swirl about daisies and a bow, two features that would usually make any piece of jewelry diminutive and cutesy…the Hello Kitty of Tiaras. (I like that…I could totally rock cutesy. It’s the curse of being petite.) Somehow, in this case, daisies and bows doesn’t go all Hello Kitty on you. This kokoshnik has the necessary elegance and gravitas required for a lady of any age to attend any tiara function in splendor.
All of my favorite tiaras seem to be Transformers of some sort, the Ruby Kokoshnik is no exception. The top chain of diamonds detaches to be worn as a rivière.
In the 1930s, Prince Viggo, son of Prince Valdemar, nephew of King Frederick VIII (aka the Count of Rosenborg), called upon the jewellers to the Danish royal family, Dragsted, to create a tiara. The artists at Dragsted drew up several different designs in the “Russian style” and eventually this one was the winner. This brilliant halo was for his wife Princess Eleanor. (Surprise! Prince Viggo wasn’t going to wear it himself! What a plot twist!) Interesting side note, you’ll see Princess Eleanor née Eleanor Green mainly referred to as “Princess Viggo” in addition to her honorific the Countess of Rosenborg.
The couple didn’t have any children so the Countess of Rosenborg left it to Viggo’s brother, younger brother Prince Axel. Truth be told, we all know it really went to his wife Margaret, daughter of the Duke of Wästergötland. Isn’t that sweet? Your husband’s family heirloom is really just your new toy! These are the families to marry into!
In turn, Axel and Margaret passed the not-really-Ruby Kokoshnik to their younger son, Count Flemming of Rosenborg and his wife Countess Ruth. In case you’ve noticed, the title Count of Rosenborg does not follow the typical hand-me-down tradition. The laws of Denmark require approval from the Rigsdag for royal marriages. Those princes who make unequal marriages are given the title of Count of Rosenborg. Herego, Viggo was a Count of Rosenborg, though his father was not. Similarly, Prince Axel’s son Flemming was dubbed a Count of Rosenborg though Axel was not. Supposedly, Flemming received the title because he renounced his rights to the throne although Alice “Ruth” Nielsen was not an equal match.
Whether Countess Ruth was wife material for a Danish prince, she certainly wore the sh*t out of the Rosenborg Kokoshnik. Seen below (left to right) at Harald’s 70th Birthday; at the Norwegian Royal wedding in 2001 and escorted by a very young Prince Haakon at Crown Prince Harald’s 50th Birthday in 1987.
The Kokoshnik was put up for auction last year by one of their four children: the Counts Axel, Birger, Johann or the Countess Désirée. According to one source, the children “almost never appear at court, and so have no need for such a nice piece of jewellery. The piece has been estimated to bring in between 1,150,000 and 1,300,000 million kroner.” It’s also been speculated that the children are strapped for cash. The auction website speculated that it would sell for even more: up to $250,000 USD.
I think the Rosenborg children were aiming ridiculously high, it is made of garnets, not rubies, after all. Plus, this particular tiara was never owned by a hereditary crown prince. I guess tiara prices go down when they’ve only been owned by “lesser” princes.
And, yes, your Blog Hostess did so inquire about the unsold kokoshnikand received a response. The price tag had that lovely yard saIe caveat: Or Best Offer. The auction house sent me a few follow-ups besides the response I posted, but I was too shy to offer them five hundred bucks to see what they said. Now I’m beginning to wonder if I should’ve offered them those 5 c-notes, the tiara’s still for sale a year later!
What do you think? Is the not-Ruby Rosenborg Kokoshnik me or should I hold out for something flashier? Anybody think they’ll really accept my lowball offer?
- Tiara Time: Tiaras in Motion Tend to Bling More (videos!) (tiarasandtrianon.wordpress.com)