With the wedding of Princess Eugenie and her fiance Jack Brooksbank merely days away, its no surprise that magazines are wildly speculating about what the blushing bride will wear, including on her head. Yes, I too have fallen pray to tiara mania. While reviewing the many royal tiaras that Eugenie may chose to wear this Friday, I thought it would be a great opportunity to introduce my readers to my top royal tiaras. Unfortunately, the magpie in me came up with a long short-list, so this blinging blog post will be a two-parter!
The Bavarian Ruby & Spinel Tiara
Maker: Bavarian Court Jeweller, Caspar Rielander
Created: circa 1830
Original Recipient: Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildeburghausen. It was a wedding gift from her husband Kind Ludwig I of Bavaria
Current whereabouts: The Residenz Museum in Munich
I’m not really a fan of gold jewellery in general, but when I saw this tiara I made an exception! This massive jaw dropping beauty looks like something straight out of a Disney film. Its made of gold in a floral design, complete with diamonds, rubies and spinels. This Tiara is also part of a larger parure – that is, a set of matching jewellery.
Unfortunately, the large tiara was a bit too heavy for its original recipient, and no portrait of the Queen of Bavaria wearing this treasure exists, Luckily for us, the Bavarian royal family’s last crown princess, formerly Princess Antonia of Luxembourg, wore the tiara for her official portraits after her wedding in 1921 (see below).
(Fun historical fact – the first ever Oktoberfest was celebrated on the occasion of Therese and Ludwig’s wedding. The world famous event continues to this day)
The Russian Large Pearl Pendant Tiara
Maker: The House of Bolin – one of the oldest jewellery houses in the world, and court jeweller to five Russian Tzars
Created: Early 19th Century
Original Recipient: The last Empress of Russia, Alexandra Feodorovna née Princess Alix of Hesse
Current Whereabouts: Unknown – like many other jewels belonging to the Russian Imperial Family, it was lost after the Russian Revolution
Also known as the Diadem of Ancient Pearls (what a name!), this tiara is a complicated structure of Brazilian diamonds and pearls, with a graduated top line and a center row of dangling pearl drops. The tiara is tightly shaped – that means it forms nearly a full-circle. I love this tiara because its a true showstopper. Its such a shame it has been lost to history and probably broken up.
The Cartier Valkyrie Tiara
Original Recipient: Mary Crewe-Milnes, Duchess of Roxburgh
Current whereabouts: The tiara will go on display for the first time when Dundee’s new V&A Museum opens next year.
My favourite tiara on my list. I always like things that are a bit ‘different’, and this Valkyrie tiara is definitely that! This spectacular diamond-winged tiara – the last of its type ever made by Cartier – comprises of more than 2,500 cushion-shaped, single-cut, circular-cut and rose-cut diamonds, set in a gold and silver frame. The pair of wings were also built using wire-coiled springs so that they move slightly when worn. They can also be detached and worn separately as brooches, making this a very versatile piece!
The Boucheron ‘Waves’ Tiara
Maker: French master goldsmith Coulot for Boucheron
Created : 1910
Original Recipient: Unknown
Current whereabouts: Unknown
I debated long and hard whether to include this tiara on the list or not. I think its a true work of art. However, unfortunately I cant tell you much about it because its history – much like its current whereabouts – is shrouded in mystery.
This Boucheron tiara makes use of precious stones as well as the spaces that lack stones to depict an asymmetrical design of breaking waves rising up from its base. Its inspired by the iconic Japanese work of art The Great Wave Off Kanagawa. Japanese influence in art became really popular in the West in the late 1800s, and when you place the tiara and the painting side by side you can definitely see the similarities.
The Boucheron Honeycomb Tiara or The Greville Tiara
Maker: Lucien Hertz, Chief Designer for Bocuheron
Created: 1921 (re-model)
Original Recipient: The Hon. Mrs Greville, British society host and philanthrophist
Current whereabouts: With Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall (gifted by Her Majesty The Queen)
Its hard to believe, but this tiara was not an original creation. Its actually a remodel of an earlier lotus flower tiara. The new geometric and contemporary honeycomb and lozenge design really floats my boat. Its so different to what you usually see with tiaras.
The original owner of the Boucheron Honeycomb Tiara, the Hon. Mrs Greville, was a close friend of Queen Mary and, having no children of her own, decided to bequeath all her jewellery to Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother when she died in 1942. The Queen Mother then had Cartier make it bigger by adding a little variation to the top line and finishing it off with a single marquis-shaped diamond in the center. Because bigger is always better.
The Cameo Tiara
Maker: Marie-Etienne Nitot, official jeweller to the Emperor Napoleon
Created: circa 1809
Original Recepient: The Empress Josephine
Current whereabouts: With the Swedish Royal Family
Another tiara I love because of its distinctive design. Cameos were very popular in the 19th Century. What is interesting with the cameos used in this tiara is that they were all made separately, and were probably not intended to go together. They are all different in size and colour, with the largest cameo sitting at the front.
You may recognize this tiara from Swedish Royal weddings – its the Swedish Royal Family’s diadem of choice for such occasions. It’s nearly a crown shape, which echoes the Swedish tradition of bridal crowns. And also, the centre cameo depicts the love story of Cupid and Psyche. The cameos are framed in pearls and sit on a base of (almost rose) gold and seed pearls. A beautiful, well-designed piece.
Tune in next week for part two of my top royal tiaras. In the meantime, I wonder what tiara Eugenie will end up wearing for her big day? Leave me your thoughts in the comments below.