At the Russian Court (2/?) R U S S I A N I M P E R I A L W E D D I N G
It had been a tradition since the 19th century that every brides of the Russian Imperial family would wear the same jewels on their wedding day.
The imperial nuptial jewels consisted of the imperial nuptial crown, created in 1840 by the jewellers Nickol and Plincke, using diamonds set in the great girdle of the time of Catherine the Great. The diamond tiara of the Empress Elizabeth Alexeievna with at his center the Paul I pink diamond. The collier d’esclave, a total weight of 475 old carats, some of the diamonds have a blue or pink tint, producing an enchanting effect. Diamond earrings in the form of cherries that belonged to Catherine the Great. These earrings were so heavy that they had to be supported with wires looped around the top of the ears, as the day wore on, the wire cut into the flesh, causing Alexandra much pain. Her niece Maria recalled on her wedding day : “My earrings hurt me so that in the middle of the banquet I took them off and hung them, to the great amusement of the Emperor [Nicholas II], on the edge of the glass of water before me.“
And the great clasp of Catherine the Great’s imperial mantle.They also wore a mantle of crimson velvet. Except for the wedding of Alexandra, as a concession to her rank as bride of the emperor, her imperial mantle was of cloth-of-gold, lined and edged with ermine. These robes were so heavy that eight pages - four on each side - and the chamberlain, carrying the hem, had to help carry them; without their assistance, Alexandra could scarely move.
Their hair were swept back and coiled into a bun at the back of their heads, by tradition two ringlets hung down on either side of their faces.
“These were, first, the diadem of the Empress Catherine, with a pink diamond of extraordinary beauty in the centre and the small crimson velvet crown all covered with diamonds. Then came the diamond necklace of large stones, the bracelets, and the earrings in the shape of cherries, so heavy that they had to be attached to gold hoops and ringed over the ears. […] Finally, they laid upon my shoulders the crimson mantle of velvet, with cape and edges of ermine, fastened by an immense [diamond] buckle. Someone helped me to rise. I was ready.” Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna
A witness on the wedding of Alexandra recalled : "How beautiful she is! That expression followed her all along her path, and it is true that her appearance was positively magnificent as she stood there in her bridal array of silver cloth… Her unusual height helped her to bear the weight of her dress and set off its splendor in its best light.” This imposing yet formidable ensemble dazzled everyone and was a formidable mirror of the pomp and splendour of the Russian court.
Sources : The Jewels of the Romanovs : Family and Court by Stefano Papi || The Court of the last Tsar by Greg King.