(the best of tiara time) the Almost-Adulterous Amethysts of Londonderry.

I beg forgiveness for allowing Theme Week Amethysts Ahoy! to go off the rails like that but Tuesday was your Blog Hostess’ anniversaire and the blogging just didn’t come together. Indeed, I threw some form of the Marie Antoinette Birthday. Champagne Vilmart Coeur de Cuvée 2003. So yeah, I Marie-Anoinett-ed the shit out of that birthday…as illustrated by my inability to write a post yesterday as well.

Siberian Londonderry Amethysts

the finest examples Siberia has to offer: the Amethysts of Londonderry. (Photo courtesy of the Most Hon. The Marquess of Londonderry and E. Wolfe & Co.)

So today, Thursday, is Amethysts Ahoy day 3 and in honor of such an event let’s take a look at what are considered the most perfect of February’s Rock of the Month: the Siberian amethyst. siberian amethysts of londonderry

“Siberian amethysts,” as so gracefully described by tiara expert Geoffery C. Munn, “are the considered the finest in the world because of the red and blue highlights seen in the deep purple body of the stones.” See? I could try to rephrase that, but I couldn’t put it any better.

The story behind the Siberian Amethysts of Londonderry is a bit salacious but no there’s no solid scandal in the catalogue. Tsar Alexander I became hopeless smitten with Lady Frances Anne Vane upon seeing her portrait. Lady Vane was the second wife of the 3rd Marquess of Londonderry and, therefore, quite unavailable. In order to catch her eye, the Tsar lavished these 14 identical and perfect Siberian Amethysts on the Marchioness of Londonderry. (See above right.)

marchioness of londonderry wore the Siberian Amethys as a grandiose StomacherNaturally, such unmitigated attention charmed the petticoats off of the Marchioness (how could you resist?) She had them nestled into diamond-set clusters to form a long stomacher. (left) Somehow—this is where both the language and information get a bit vague—the Marchioness “managed to end the love affair ‘innocent of guilt’.” Whatever that means…

These jaw-dropping candies were probably “converted into a tiara (below left) in honor of the succession of the 7th Marquess of Londonderry in 1915,” (Munn, 275). I find this excessively odd considering the original designs for the tiara, made by E. Wolfe & Co. are dated August 1916. (See top left, background.)

Londonderry Amethyst Tiara

These baubles are still in the possession of the Marquess of Londonderry to this day, a decent indicator that there were no hard feelings between the Marquess and the Marchioness over whatever did or did not transpire between Lady Frances and the tsar. Besides, who could give those plumsparklers up?

How do you think these “superior” amethysts compare to those tiaras we discussed on Sunday and Monday’s Queen Mary’s Parure?


Munn, Geoffrey C. Tiaras: A History of Splendour. The Antique Collectors Club, Suffolk, U.K., 2001.


About ♔ la dauphiine ♔

Connecticut-based jewelry monger, history buff, Mets fan. On the hum-drum side, call me a lauded poet, novelist and ghost-writer. (That's right, I haunt prose.)
This entry was posted in amethyst, england, those envious gems, tiara time! and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to (the best of tiara time) the Almost-Adulterous Amethysts of Londonderry.

  1. A little large and over-the-top but glorious colour. Bonne Anniversaire for Tuesday. Mine was on Monday!


  2. Angelyn says:

    I’m thinking these Russian amethysts cast Queen Mary’s in the shade. They look heavy–so much that Lady Vane’s bodice appears rather saggy. Ooops..


  3. Pingback: Tiara Time! the Steel-Cut Tiara | tiaras and trianon

  4. Pingback: tiara time: the amethyst bandeau of luxembourg | tiaras and trianon

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