Tiaras – More Than Just Crown Jewels
The sparkle and sophistication of tiaras has been around for centuries, but they have recently resurfaced as popular jewelry piece for more than just the royal family.
New York City jewelry dealer Gus Davis from Camilla Dietz Bergeron, Ltd. explains, “People sometimes think tiaras aren’t very wearable, but we’ve been selling quite a few. They’re not as obscure as one would think. There’s a lot of interest in them as a statement piece to wear to weddings or special events. They’re also very popular in Europe.”
Camilla Dietz Bergeron recently showcased this platinum topped gold and diamond tiara with 35 carats of diamonds (Circa 1905) at the New York Antique Jewelry & Watch Show this summer.
Similar to crowns, tiaras are raised at the center, taper off at the sides and fully or partially encircle the head. Many are encrusted with sparkling rhinestones or crystals, pearls, semi-precious stones or precious gems.
The wearing of tiaras originated in ancient Greece and Rome, when gold wreaths and diadems (a royal headband or crown) were worn. Goldsmiths created these crowns to top the heads of statues of Gods and priests as well as early Olympic champions.
Although with the onset of Christianity, tiaras fell out of favor. They reappeared in 1804 when Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte chose to wear a gold neo-classical wreath at his coronation. When Victoria became Queen of England in 1837, she also wore a tiara, giving it royal stamp of approval.
The number of occasions requiring tiaras diminished as society underwent dramatic changes during the 1920s and 30s. Tiaras today, however, have resurfaced as an accessory worn by everyone from toddler pageant queens to blushing brides, British royalty to Hollywood’s elite.
This past summer, pop singer Avril Lavigne wore a tiara to marry Nickelback’s Chad Kroeger.
(Picture from blog.zap2it.com)
A-list actresses like Michelle Williams, Charlize Theron and Scarlett Johansson have also been spotted donning tiaras for special events.
(Picture from dailyglow.com)
Tiaras have also been used in blockbuster movies, like “The Great Gatsby” and “Mirror Mirror,” and the TV show “Downton Abbey.”
(Pictures from forelyse.com and professionaljeweller.com)
And on the runway at Vivienne Westwood’s Spring 2013 show.
(Picture from fashionologie.com)
Nonetheless, tiaras are still most commonly associated with royalty and the British monarchy. It is said that Queen Elizabeth II has the largest and most valuable collection of tiaras in the world. The Swedish Royal Family also has a magnificent collection as do the Danish, the Dutch and Spanish monarchies.
Here are some of our favorite famous tiaras:
The Empress Joséphine Coronation Tiara
Grace Kelly, princess of Monaco, wore this tiara from Van Cleef & Arpels to the Century Ball in 1966. This tiara dates to 1804 and was originally given to Empress Joséphine of France by her husband, Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte. She wore the tiara to their imperial coronation in December of that year.
(Picture from tiaraandtrianon.wordpress.com)
The Yugoslavian Emerald Tiara
This tiara ended up in Yugoslavia, but it has origins with the Romanovs in Russia. The piece was made by Bolin for Princess Ella of Hesse. In 1908, Ella gave the tiara to her niece, Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna. When Pavlovna was sent into exile in Romania, she sold the tiara to King Alexander I of Yugoslavia, who bought the tiara as a wedding gift for Princess Maria (“Mignon”) of Romania. In 1953, Mignon’s sold the tiara and Van Cleef & Arpels is currently the owner. (Picture from orderofslendor.blogspot.com)
The Cambridge Lover’s Knot Tiara
The Cambridge Lover’s Knot Tiara that we’re familiar with today is a copy of the original 1818 version. It was created in 1913 for Queen Mary. The tiara came into the collection of the current queen in 1953 upon Mary’s death. In 1981, Queen Elizabeth II gave the tiara to her then daughter-in-law, Diana Spencer, who wore the tiara during her tenure as Princess of Wales. When Charles and Diana divorced in 1996, she returned the tiara to the queen.
(Picture from lisawallerogers.wordpress.com)
The Cartier Halo Tiara
Made by Cartier in 1936, this tiara was an anniversary gift from King George VI to his wife, Elizabeth (the Queen Mum). In 1944, the Queen Mum gave the tiara to her daughter, Elizabeth II, as an eighteenth birthday gift. However, Elizabeth II never wore the tiara in public. Her younger sister, Princess Margaret and her daughter, Princess Anne, frequently borrowed it. Most recently, Kate Middleton adorned the tiara for her royal wedding to Prince William in 2011. (Picture from harpersbazaar.com)
Tiara descriptions taken from A Tiara a Day (atiaraaday.blogspot.com).
As you can see, tiaras have a rich history and are often passed down through the family line. But tiaras are more than just a perfect complement to dressing glamorously – these pieces instantly improve your posture, make you taller and account for evoking a princess feeling in everyday life.
Let’s hear from you: Do you think tiaras are just a style fad or will be around for years to come? Would you wear one? Leave a comment bellow, tweet us @USAntiqueShows, or post on our Facebook page: Facebook.com/OfficialPage.USAntiqueShows.