Jewels from Anna Pavlovna

Jewels from Anna Pavlovna

Two jewels with gemstones formerly from the collection of Grand Duchess Anna Pavlovna of Russia, Queen-Consort of the Netherlands (1795-1865), sold for double their estimate at Christie’s Important Jewels auction in London on November 27. And important these jewels are. While Anna’s jewellery collection is famed, it is incredibly rare to come across jewels from her collection. The reason is that her daughter Princess Sophie of the Netherlands inherited the bulk of her jewels, obscuring them from the public eye forever. We depend on auctions like these to get a glimpse of Anna’s splendour; in this case a modest glimpse.  

The first item, an early 20th century emerald and diamond necklace, was accompanied with the following provenance statement: ‘Family history relates that the emeralds and diamonds used in this necklace originally formed part of the jewellery collection belonging to Anna Pawlowna von Holstein-Gottrop-Romanov, Grand Duchess of Russia, Queen of the Netherlands [spouse of King Willem II, red.] and have since been remounted and descended through the family to their present owner’, being a European Princely Family.

The necklace is ‘composed of a series of millegrain-set square-cut emerald and rose-cut diamond panels, joined by rose-cut diamond-set line borders, with single-stone accents between, suspending an associated fringe of five graduated emerald drops in openwork diamond-set frame surrounds, mounted in platinum and gold, circa 1915, 36.8cm long, emerald drops detachable, accompanied by a pair of modern diamond single-stone surmount ear studs.’

Princely family

The 2nd item – a 19th century diamond tiara, ‘composed of a graduated line of seven old-cut cushion shaped diamond collets within diamond-set fleur-de-lys motif cluster surrounds, raised on a similarly-set diamond frame, later rhodium plated’ – has the same statement of provenance for the diamonds in the jewel. 

It is likely both jewels were entered in this auction by the same person/family. As mentioned before, most of Anna’s jewels left the Dutch royal family because Anna’s only daughter Sophie (below) inherited them. She was married to the Grand Duke of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach and their descendants belong to this family and to the princely family Reuss.

Auction results

Despite the jewels being of somewhat sub-optimal quality – you can zoom in on them on Christie’s website –, and thanks to the royal provenance, both jewels fetched double their estimate. The emerald and diamond necklace – estimate 25 to 35,000GBP – raised 47,500GBP. The diamond tiara went for 30,000GBP, with an estimate of 15 to 20,000.