Unseen for a century, a fascinating Fabergé tiara fetched more than $1 million at Christie’s in May. Now, the crown’s story continues at its forever home in Houston.
In 1904, this aquamarine and diamond tiara was commissioned by a groom for his bride, but it never saw their wedding day. At the suggestion of his mother, Grand Duchess Anastasia Mikhailovna of Russia, Germany’s Frederick Francis IV, Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, ordered his bride-to-be, Princess Alexandra of Hanover and Cumberland, the extravagant tiara at the Fabergé atelier in St. Petersburg. But the groom’s lengthy deliberations with Eugène Fabergé on its design caused a major delay. Two weeks before the wedding day, Fabergé had still not received instructions from the Ducal Cabinet to proceed with the commission, and he was unable to finalize the tiara in time. Alas, it arrived a month after the wedding, only to be tucked away with the royal family for more than a century—until May, when it went up for auction at Christie’s and was swooped up by the Humble-based McFerrin family. The McFerrins made their fortune in chemical manufacturing and have generously given millions to Texas A&M and the Houston Museum of Natural Science. The latter is where their Fabergé collection (the largest private collection in the world) lives and where the historic headpiece will finally get its chance to shine. Nonmember tickets $25, 5555 Hermann Park Drive