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    Description

    Rare Russian Imperial Diamond Maid of Honor Decoration
    By Karl Hahn, 1896-1911, unsigned, with inventory number

    Designed as the conjoined initials M A for Dowager Empress Maria Fedorovna and Empress Alexandra Fedorovna, below a Romanov Crown set with diamonds, the scrolling terminals set with sapphires

    Karl Hahn, Jeweler to the Imperial Court


    Like Fabergé, Hahn was an important supplier to the Russian Imperial Court who also had the title of Court Jeweler. Based in St. Petersburg, the firm specialized in Court commissions: diamond orders and decorations, portrait badges, snuffboxes, jewels, and objets d'art. The firm closed in 1911.

    Recipients of these diamond ciphers were young unmarried women of aristocratic background personally chosen by both the Empress and Dowager Empress. The decorations were worn on specific ceremonial occasions with a court dress in the traditional Old Russian style. The dress was of white silk weighted by a gold and red velvet train complete with kokoshnik diadem of red velvet embroidered with gold. The ciphers were then pinned to the left shoulder on a St. Andrew's sash of pale blue moiré silk. Once married, the demoiselles des Imperatrices would renounce their positions as Maids of Honor, but would be allowed to keep their diamond decorations.

    With special thanks to Ulla Tillander-Godenhielm for the above information.

    Provenance:
    Jointly presented by the Dowager Empress Maria Fedorovna and Empress Alexandra, wife of Emperor Nicholas II to a selected Maid of Honor.
    Purchased from Marie E. Betteley, New York





    Condition Report*: Condition report available upon request.
    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Some condition issues may not be noted in the condition report but are apparent in the provided photos which are considered part of the condition report. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

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    Auction Dates
    April, 2008
    24th Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 6
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