Sotheby’s – Royal Tiara

Sotheby's celebrated the auction of a historical tiara with an Instagram filter


To celebrate the first appearance of a royal tiara at auction at Sotheby’s, they wanted to create a social media filter that generated buzz around the auction, by allowing their 3.8 million Instagram followers to virtually ‘try on’ the diamond and pearl headpiece. They also wanted to highlight the long and extraordinary history of the royal tiara, which had been passed down through generations of the Royal Family of Italy.



We worked closely with Sotheby’s to create an Instagram filter that met these two requirements. Firstly, it was important that the filter represented the tiara in all its glory: the tiara is composed of graduated scroll motifs set with cushion-shaped, circular- and single-cut diamonds, framing eleven slightly baroque drop-shaped natural pearls. The virtual tiara was modelled directly from the original, and using the filter, users were able to visualise themselves wearing it.

Secondly, in order to highlight the amazing history of the tiara, which is believed to have been presented to Maria Vittoria dal Pozzo as a wedding gift on her marriage to Amadeo I of Savoy, the Instagram filter included a 360º backdrop of the Palazzina di Caccia di Stupinigi in Turin, the former royal hunting lodge for the House of Savoy. Upon virtually trying on the tiara, the user found themselves within that backdrop, giving the impression that they were physically present there.


The filter was published in Sotheby’s main instagram handle @sothebys, as well as in their dedicated jewellery account @SothebysJewels. Shortly after the launch of the effect, the tiara sold at auction in Geneva for $1.6 million.

The filter has since garnered almost 1 million impressions, with around 130,000 of those users engaging with the filter, whether to visualise the filter on their mobile device, to capture images and video wearing the tiara, or to share them with their own followers.


This is already the second collaboration between Sotheby’s and Poplar Studio, having previously created an Instagram filter that allowed users to visualise one of Botticelli’s masterpieces on their wall. These filters are among the growing number of ways in which Sotheby’s are adopting AR in order to showcase their artworks and objects to more digitally savvy audiences, and they remain true trailblazers in the industry’s adoption of AR.

Scan the above QR code with your phone's camera to experience Sotheby's AR filter.

This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for many of us to try on a $1 million tiara. Our social media mission is to find creative new ways to share extraordinary objects with our 3.8 million followers, welcoming everyone inside the world of Sotheby’s. We’ve loved bringing this virtual tiara to life with the help of Poplar Studio, and we hope everyone feels like Instagram royalty as they snap a selfie in the ultimate luxury accessory.

- Abigail Tavener, Head of Social Media, Europe at Sotheby's

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