The British government moved Wednesday to stop the export of a jeweled headband once owned by Edwina, Lady Mountbatten, a leading fashion figure of the 1920s and wife of the last British viceroy of India.
Lady Mountbatten bought the Cartier-made bandeau set with diamonds, carved Indian rubies, sapphires and emeralds in 1928.
The Department of Culture said the art deco piece, valued at $550,000, had recently changed hands and the new owner had applied for an export license. It declined to identify the present and previous owners.
The temporary export ban gives British institutions three months to raise funds to purchase the bandeau.
Lady Mountbatten, a goddaughter of King Edward VII, was married to Earl Mountbatten of Burma, uncle of Queen Elizabeth II's husband, Prince Philip. Mountbatten was supreme allied commander for Southeast Asia in World War II, and was viceroy of India before it gained independence from Britain in August 1947. He was killed by the Irish Republican Army in 1979. Lady Mountbatten died in 1960.