By Brecken Branstrator
This diadem is one of seven pieces in a parure, a set of jewels designed to be worn together, created in 1856 to celebrate the coronation of Tsar Alexander II. The parure is on display now through Sept. 13 at Sotheby’s New York.
New York—Anglophiles and jewelry lovers alike will want to see what Sotheby’s has on display this summer—treasures from a famous English estate.

Chatsworth House, located in Derbyshire, England, is home to the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire and has been passed down through 16 generations of the Cavendish family.

The estate has been used as the setting for several films, including the 2005 version of “Pride and Prejudice” and 2008’s “The Duchess.”

Its Devonshire Collection is one of the largest and most significant private art and jewelry collections in Britain and is now being presented in the United States for the first time.

“Treasures from Chatsworth: The Exhibition” is open to the public at Sotheby’s New York through Sept. 13 It includes more than 40 masterworks of fine art, jewelry, fashion and decorative arts.

One of the items is a “masterpiece of Victorian jewelry,” Sotheby’s said.

The Devonshire Parure (parure refers to a set of jewels intended to be worn together) consists of seven pieces: a bandeau, bracelet, coronet, diadem, necklace, stomacher and comb.

It uses 88 carved gemstones and cameos—made of ruby, sapphire, emerald, sardonyx, garnet, cornelian, amethyst, plasma, jacinth, onyx and lapis lazuli—some of which are from the 2nd Duke of Devonshire’s extensive carved gem collection and date back to the ancient world, Sotheby’s said.

The set was commissioned by the 6th Duke of Devonshire, and made and designed by C.F. Hancock with input from Sir Joseph Paxton, in 1856 for Maria, Countess Granville, to wear to the celebration of Tsar Alexander II’s coronation.

A few of the gemstones depict carvings of various monarchs.

One cameo features a portrait of Queen Elizabeth I set in a green enamel locket. Within the locket there were two small portraits, about the size of a thumbnail, which were damaged in the 1970s.

Because of their condition, the figures are unidentifiable, though Sotheby’s said there’s reason to believe they could be miniatures of Queen Elizabeth I and Robert Dudley, Lord Leicester—the man believed to be her true love—or undiscovered miniatures of the Cavendish family.

Also included in the exhibition is the Devonshire tiara, seen below.

20190712 Tiara copy

The piece was created for the marriage of Lady Louisa Egerton, née Cavendish, daughter of the 7th Duke of Devonshire, in 1865.

As per tradition, it also was worn by the present Duchess Amanda at her wedding in 1967 and then again by her daughter, Lady Celina, at her wedding in 1995.

In addition to sitting on top of the head, the tiara also can be worn as a necklace or divided into brooches.

Concurrent with the “Treasures” exhibition is “Inspired by Chatsworth: A Selling Exhibition,” a group of paintings, drawings, jewelry, furniture and art that draws its inspiration from the ways in which Chatsworth has influenced collecting from the late 17th century to present day.

It includes the pair of silver-topped gold and diamond 19th century pendant earrings seen below, which were formerly in the collection of Princess Armand d’Arenberg.

Each earring has a fringe of nine old mine-cut diamonds, surmounted by scrolling lines of graduated single-cut diamonds and further topped by two old mine cuts. The asking price is $375,000.

20190712 Diamond earrings

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