The Napoleonic Cut-Steel Tiara was originally made for Hortense de Beauharnais, the stepdaughter of Napoleon Bonaparte, who was Queen of Holland in 1806. Since Hortense had no daughters, she passed a lot of her jewellery on to her niece, Josephine of Leuchtenberg who brought the tiara to Sweden when she married Oscar I in 1823.
Josephine was responsible for bringing most of the impressive jewellery pieces to the Swedish royal family, however this tiara seems to have become lost amongst the collection until it was discovered in the 1970s by Queen Silvia. Silvia had the tiara restored and since then it has become a favourite amongst the royal ladies.
There are no gemstones whatsoever on this tiara, instead the feathers, flowers, oak leaves, and acorns have been cut out of steel and set in gilt brass. Although a steel tiara would’ve been a cheaper option than one encrusted with diamonds, the craftsmanship involved in polishing and shaping the steel would have still made it an expensive purchase. The steel pieces have been crafted in such a painstaking way, the tiara shines as if set with hundreds of tiny diamonds in the light.
Original Owner: Queen Hortense of Holland
Current Owner: The Bernadotte Foundation