She was the “Grand Duchess of Russia,” daughter and sister of Tsars, who died in 1960 in a London apartment once the grandness was over, leaving a thousand pages of drawings and watercolors recording all the jewelry she received in her prime. The jewels are gone, but the two volumes of her bling illustrations are offered at Bonham’s London Russian sale next month. High estimate is $400,000.
The illustrations document a 32-year record of changing fashion and tastes in jewelry from classic to Art Deco. Traditionally, jewelry—from trinkets to tiaras– was given the Duchess, a mother of seven, on every birthday, name day, Christmas and Easter, until the Revolution changed all that and brother Tsar Nicholas II and family were assassinated, and two World Wars followed.
Read more at Bonham’s