Today marks the 180th Anniversary of the Birth of Princess Alice, Grand Duchess of Hesse, who was born on this day in 1843! The fascinating second daughter of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert who married the Grand Duke of Hesse and became a prolific champion of nursing until her tragic death, Princess Alice was the mother of, among others, Tsarina Alexandra Feodorovna of Russia, and her splendid Jewellery Collection included this spectacular Emerald Brooch!
Hesse Strawberry Leaf Tiara | Hesse Star Tiara | Hesse Sapphire Necklace | Princess Alice’s Emerald Brooch
A spectacular Emerald and Diamond Brooch with a massive detachable pear-shaped Emerald Pendant, the Brooch was originally the clasp of a bracelet given to Princess Alice as a christening present from her uncle, Duke Ernest II of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, while the Emerald Pendant was given to Queen Victoria by the King of Oude and presented to Princess Alice in 1864.
Princess Alice most notably wore the Emerald Brooch and the massive Emerald Pendant as the clasp of a pearl necklace for a portrait by Richard Lauchert in 1867.
After Grand Duchess Alice’s tragic death in 1878, the Emerald Pendant was worn suspended on the necklace by her youngest daughter, Princess Alix, with the Brooch worn underneath while dressed for a Costume Ball in 1891. The three emerald drops set in the necklace had been given to Princess Alice from the Queen of Belgium in August 1846. Princess Alix inherited the Emerald Brooch and Pendant upon her father’s death in 1892, and two years later took them to Russia when she became the Tsarina.
In 1903, Tsarina Alexandra Feodorovna used the pear-shaped emerald to top the Crown of her costume as Tsarina Maria Miloslavskaya, the wife of Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich, for the legendary Ball at the Winter Palace, which was the last Imperial Court Ball. The Brooch may also have been worn as part of the elaborate costume.
Despite being personal properly, the Emerald Brooch and Pendant was not among the Jewels taken by the Imperial Family into exile, and was instead confiscated by the Bolsheviks in St. Petersburg. In 1922, the jewels were photographed for the Soviets, when the Emerald Brooch and Pendant were misidentified, and since then have disappeared without a trace. It may have been sold discreetly or the jewels may be among the pieces still in the vaults of the Kremlin.
Hesse Strawberry Leaf Tiara | Hesse Star Tiara | Hesse Sapphire Necklace | Princess Alice’s Emerald Brooch | Hesse Turquoise and Moonstone Tiara | Hesse Medieval Emerald Tiara
British Royal Jewels | Russian Treasure