During and after WW2, the Aostas went through hard times.
Prince Amedeo, 3rd Duke of Aosta (1898-1942), appointed in the late 1930s as Vice-King of Ethiopia (under Italian occupation) and commander-in-chief of the Italian troops in Eastern Africa, was made prisoner by the British troops in 1941, and died the following year in a prisoner camp in Nairobi, Kenya, leaving a widow (Princess Anne of France, then aged 36) and two young daughters in their early teens.
His brother Prince Aimone became the 4th Duke of Aosta. He was appointed King of the Nazi-occupied "independant" State of Croatia, as "King Tomislav II", but he always refused to go to Croatia and finally turned down this Croatian crown, aware that he would have been a puppet in Nazi hands if he had accepted it. After the proclamation of the Italian republic in 1946, Prince Aimone went into exile in Argentina, where he unexpectedly died from a heart infarct as soon as 1948, leaving a 44-year-old widow, Princess Irene of Greece, and a 5-year-old son, Amedeo, the current 5th Duke of Aosta. I read on Wikipedia that Princess Irene, who had stayed in Switzerland, was at that time so impoverished that she could not even afford a trip to Argentina for her husband's burial.
Besides, both Duchess Anne and Duchess Irene were kept prisoners in Italy and Austria by the Mussolinian forces and their Nazi allies from 1943 to 1945, as a retaliation against the Savoy dynasty after King Victor-Emmanuel III had dismissed Mussolini and had him arrested.
So it would not have been surprising if, at some time, either Duchess Anne or Duchess Irene had decided to remove some diamonds from the historic Aosta diamond tiara and to sell them to get some cash, while managing to keep the main elements of the tiara.
Moreover, even the original tiara was versatile and made of removable elements, as we can see on this picture of Princess Helena of France, wife of the 2nd Duke of Aosta and mother of the 3rd and 4th Dukes:
Regarding the crystal copy lent by the 5th Duke of Aosta for the exhibition at Veneria Reale, I don't know. Maybe the Duke did not want to lend the real jewel, for safety or insurance reasons? But I am quite sure that the tiara worn by the Duke's first wife, Princess Claude of Orleans, was the real one - she would certainly not have worn a mere crystal copy for her wedding, for royal gala events and for a visit to the Pope!
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