The Sapphire Coronet was designed by Prince Albert to match the sapphire brooch he gave to Queen Victoria on their wedding day. The coronet was commissioned from Joseph Kitching for approximately £450 and featured cushion cut and kite-shaped sapphires set in gold with diamonds set in silver in a trefoil pattern. Victoria, a migraine sufferer, preferred smaller and lighter tiaras so the coronet was a perfect size to sit on the back of her hair chignon style. The design was based on a symbol on Prince Albert’s coat of arms and was intended to represent enduring love.
The coronet was one of the few pieces Victoria felt was still appropriate to wear after the death of Albert and she wore it to the opening of Parliament in 1866. After Victoria’s death, the coronet was kept in the royal family, however it wasn’t seen again until it was presented to Mary, Princess Royal as a gift upon her marriage to Henry, Viscount Lascelles. The coronet stayed within the Lascelles family for many years but was sold at auction in 2011 to a private buyer. The coronet was put on sale again in 2015 and purchased by a foreign buyer who was blocked from exporting it by the British government because of its historical value.
The race began to raise the £6 million needed to keep it in Britain and the V&A Museum finally announced in August 2017 that the piece had been bought by William Bollinger, a hedge-fund manager and financier, who was gifting it to the museum. The coronet will go on display in the William and Judith Bollinger Jewellery Gallery after its refurbishment in 2019.