Tiara of Eleonora Beaufort-Spontin
The Tiara of Eleonora Beaufort-Spontin is one of the latest known and preserved "treasures" of Bečov Castle and Chateau and it is remarkable not only for its value but also for its exceptional story.
The main material of the tiara is yelllow 14C gold covered by a thick layer of silver and with 540 pieces of cut diamonds/brilliants attached, dating back to around the mid-19th century. The hallmark is not visible, possibly placed under the protective chip. The tiara consists of two parts that can be unfolded to strips and it could be easily placed in a jewellery casket that has not been preserved though. There were gems of various forms to be applied on top of the tiara that went with the tiara, so that it could have been used for various social events. It is assumed these replaceable sets included the biggest and highest quality stones – diamonds, natural coloured stones, or pearls whose value was several times higher than the price of the preserved tiara. The jewellery work was done on the tiara between 1860 and 1880 within the territory of Central Europe (probably Austria-Hungary, Germany or Belgium).
An expert opinion given at the end of 2016 determined the tiara value to be nearly CZK 2,000,000.
The tiara was first recorded after WWII as a part of the contents of Křimice Chateau – registered as the property of Eleonora Beaufort-Spontin, a French citizen. She might have left it in Křimice with her sister married to Jaroslav Lobkowicz. Together with other items it was later moved to the Kozel Chateau. In 1960, Eleonora tried unsuccessfully to get back the property deposited in Czechoslovakia. The tiara was stored in a paper box at the Kozel Chateau for a long time as it was considered to be a cheap theatre prop. In the 1980s, an expert from the Starožitnost ("Antique") state enterprise was asked to give an opinion and stated it was a valuable item made of platinum and fitted with diamonds. Then the tiara was shown as a part of the exhibition. Thanks to the initiative of Mgr. Tomáš Wizovský, the Bečov Chateau warden, the tiara came back to Bečov. Today, it can be seen on Route No. 2.
Eleonora Beaufort-Spontin was a sister of the last owner of the Bečov manor, Heinrich Beaufort-Spontin. We don´t know what she looked like yet – she has not been identified in any preserved portraits or photographs. Under her father´s will, her brother Heinrich was obliged to provide her with an apartment suitable to her countess status in the upper chateau area (the so-called Pluh Houses), consisting of a drawing room, bedroom, dining room, three guest rooms, a servant room, kitchen and facilities. Nevertheless, Eleonora decided to build her own recreational residence above Bečov, called Villa Komtesa today.