Sotheby's auctioning a royal tiara from the House of Savoy – and you can try it on virtually!

By Heather Cichowski

Royal tiara moments are very rare. For instance, Duchess Kate has only worn a tiara a handful of times, and having a royal tiara come up for auction happens even less often.

So it's thrilling to see a tiara that has been in the House of Savoy for 150 years hitting the auction block for the first time at Sotheby's.

The tiara is composed of natural, baroque drop-shaped pearls and circular and singular-cut diamonds with graduated scroll motifs. The incredible style can even be worn as a necklace! It is believed to have been created by Musy Padre e Figli, the Court Jeweller of Turin, and one of the oldest goldsmiths in Europe.

The diamond and pearl tiara will be the highlight of the “Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels” Sotheby's auction in Geneva on May 11. It has an estimate of US$1-1.5 million.

What a breathtaking piece of history! Photo: © Sotheby's

The House of Savoy is one of the world’s oldest royal families. This extraordinary tiara dates from the second half of the 19th century, and it is likely to have been presented to Maria Vittoria dal Pozzo as a wedding gift for her 1867 marriage to Amadeo I of Savoy, Duke of Aosta, who later became the King of Spain. The tiara then remained in the family for 150 years.

"Tiaras have always been the crowning glory of major jewellery collections but in the past decade, their popularity has soared to unprecedented heights," said Benoit Repellin, Head of Sotheby’s Geneva "Magnificent Jewels" auction.

"These storied pieces are prized around the world, not only for their craftsmanship and the quality of their materials which makes them true works of art, but also for their historical and emotional resonance: a mix of magnificence and intimacy.

The details on the natural pearl and diamond tiara are incredible. Photo: © Sotheby’s

"Combining two ancient symbols of wealth and status (natural pearls and headpiece), the tiara we have the privilege to present in Geneva in May encapsulates all the pomp, power and presence associated with royal jewels, and with an option to be worn as a necklace, the versatility of this beautiful jewel will undoubtedly make it a very covetable piece for many collectors."

The tiara comes with the option to be worn as a necklace. Photo: © Sotheby’s

Some of the most important tiara auctions held at Sotheby's include the Donnersmarck Tiara, an emerald and diamond tiara which sold for US$12.7 million at Sotheby's Geneva in May 2011, and set a world record. The Murat Tiara, which was formerly in the collection of Prince Alexandre Murat, a descendant of Joachim Murat, Marshall of the Empire and Napoleon’s sister, Caroline Bonaparte, sold for US$3.9 million at Sotheby’s Geneva in May 2012.

MORE: Queen Victoria's 'mourning jewelry' to be auctioned off in sale of the 2nd Countess Mountbatten of Burma's collection

In honour of the landmark tiara auction, Sotheby's has created an Instagram filter that allows anyone to virtually "try on" the tiara through the @sothebys and @sothebysjewels accounts. You can try it out now and post your selfie with the hashtag #tiaraselfie.

The fun filter captures users in the sparkling tiara against a 360-degree background of the Palazzina di Caccia di Stupinigi in Turin, which is the former royal hunting lodge for the House of Savoy.

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