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Royal Tiaras from around the world part 2 with Audio

Here are some of the grandest tiaras ever worn and the stories behind them.


The Congo Necklace Tiara

This necklace, convertible to a tiara, features rows of large round diamonds attached to a row of baguette diamonds. It was made by Van Cleef and Arpels it was a gift to Princess Joséphine Charlotte of Belgium on her marriage to thr Hereditary Grand Duke of Luxembourg in 1953. It’s often said to have been given by the Belgian colony of the Congo, though others report it as a gift of Congo diamonds from another source, perhaps the bride’s father.

The Festoon Tiara

The Festoon tiara was a gift to Anne from the World Wide Shipping Group when she christened one of their ships in 1973. It’s a lovely, delicate diamond piece that Anne has worn frequently. One imagines it must be quite light, and the design is fairly short, which should make it easy to wear.

The Strathmore Rose Tiara

Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon (the future Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother) received it as a gift from her father, the Earl of Strathmore, for her wedding in 1923, though the piece itself dates from before that. The tiara features a garland of wild roses in diamonds mounted in silver and gold. The individual elements can be dismantled and worn as brooches, and were originally able to be substituted by single sapphires.

Queen Saleha’s Coloured Diamond Tiara

Queen Saleha has been wearing this grand tiara, which features large coloured diamonds, since the 1980s. Notable occasions include the Sultan’s 25th Jubilee and the British State Visit to Brunei.

Queen Saleha’s Coloured Diamond Tiara

The Lotus Flower Tiara

A delicate diamond tiara of fanned motifs crowned by floating diamond arches and studded with two pearls at the base and a central top pearl. Much like the Strathmore Rose Tiara, this was seen on the Queen Mother in her early years as Duchess of York and was subsequently retired from her regular tiara rotation. It was made from one of her wedding gifts, a necklace of a Greek key pattern with pendant diamonds and pearls given by her husband, the future George VI.

The Fleur de Lys Tiara

This was a wedding present from King Alfonso XIII to his wife Queen Victoria Eugenia of Spain in 1906. The platinum tiara features three large fleur de lys motifs, each filled with large round diamonds, and connected by swirls and scrolls including more significantly sized diamonds.

The Fife Tiara

It first belonged to Princess Louise of Wales, the oldest daughter of King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra. When she married the Earl of Fife in 1889, she received quite a waterfall of sparkling presents; this stunning tiara with pear-shaped diamonds hanging freely in a diamond framework, topped with more pear-shaped diamonds alternating with round diamonds, was among them. It is thought to be the work of Parisian jeweler Oscar Massin.

Queen Victoria Eugenia’s Aquamarine Tiara

The tiara has gone through quite a transformation over the years. It was a gift to Queen Victoria Eugeniafrom her husband, King Alfonso XIII. Not only was the original form quite different from what it is today, it was originally set with drop pearls.She had it reset to accommodate a collection of luscious Brazilian aquamarines. She gave it to her daughter, the Infanta Beatriz, who married Alessandro Torlonia, Prince of Civitella-Cesi, in 1935. In Beatriz’s hands the tiara received its most extreme makeover, bringing it to the form we know today.

Queen Victoria Eugenia’s Aquamarine Tiara

The Danish Ruby Parure tiara

This tiara tale begins, like many others, at the court of Napoleon Bonaparte. When planning his coronation in 1804, he wanted to ensure that it would be the grandest possible event. He gave money to his marshals so that they could buy their wives the proper amount of jewels for the occasion. One of those men, Jean Baptiste Bernadotte, bought a set of ruby and diamond jewelry for his wife, Désirée Clary. This couple would later become King Carl XIV Johan and Queen Desideria of Sweden. Alterations have been made over the years. It started as a series of individual floral ornaments; these were later assembled into a slender wreath tiara. Queen Ingrid turned it into something more in 1947 by taking two of the brooches that came with the initial parure and adding them to the tiara.

Queen Sophie’s Diamond Tiara

This major all diamond tiara, featuring large rectangular diamonds set in circular foliage motifs, gets its name from its first owner: Princess Sophie of Prussia (1870 -1932), who married the future King Constantine I of Greece in 1889. The tiara was a family wedding gift some say it came from her mother, Empress Frederick (Victoria, Princess Royal – the oldest child of Britain’s Queen Victoria), and others say from her brother, Wilhelm II.

The Modern Gold Tiara

This intriguing gem was a gift from King Harald of Norway to his wife, Queen Sonja, for her 60th birthday in 1997. Unlike traditional tiaras, this is mostly metal on display: strips of gold with tiny diamonds set in gold wedged in between periodically. When it first debuted, reddish orange topaz stones were featured in the center element. The second version to appear featured a large rectangular green tourmaline center edged in diamonds. The third centerpiece features small diamonds scattered along the sides.

The Wolfers Necklace Tiara

The Wolfers Necklace Tiara is a Belgian jewel named for its Belgian maker. The piece was given to Fabiola de Mora y Aragón by people from Belgian industry to mark her 1960 marriage to King Baudouin, and includes 205 diamonds with points of three diamonds apiece set on a double diamond row. It can be worn as a small tiara, or as a necklace.

The Leuchtenberg Sapphire Parure

Composed of 11 sapphires framed in diamonds on a diamond base of honeysuckle and leaf motifs, the Leuchtenberg Sapphire Tiara was made by the Parisian jeweler Marie -Etienne Nitot. Originally, pearls were included as an alternative to the sapphires. It’s a flexible tiara made in 11 different sections, allowing the user to adjust the circumference at will. It folds out to store flat in its box, a feature that Queen Silvia has noted makes it very handy to travel with.

The Pearl Button Tiara

The “buttons” the base supports are small brooches which are part of a set that belonged to Queen Sophie and were also worn in brooch form by Queen Wilhelmina. Each one consists of a pearl button surrounded by diamond petals. Queen Beatrix chose the Pearl Button Tiara for her investiture as queen in 1980, and the base of the tiara was used by the court jeweler to make a new tiara for the 2002 wedding of Willem-Alexander and Máxima Zorreguieta.

Sibilla’s Art Deco Tiara

This lovely architectural Art Deco style diamond tiara is thought to have been a gift from her parents at the time of Sibllia’s wedding to Prince Guillaume of Luxembourg. it converts from its full size down to a more petite version by removing the top portion of the diadem.

The Floral Aigrette Tiara

This one could depending on who you’re talking to goes by several different names: the wreath tiara, the diamond floral tiara and the three piece tiara. It is a diamond tiara in a floral motif that comes in three separate sections; the center section has a little more character and features the largest flower, which is skillfully mounted so that it will tremble slightly with movement increasing the sparkle. The two side pieces have more of a wreath-style design. You can wear all three together mounted on a frame in traditional tiara mode or you can wear any number of the pieces in various formats. The pieces on their own can be used rather like aigrettes, hence the name.

The Swedish Aquamarine Kokoshnik Tiara

Princess Sibylla of Sweden, King Carl Gustaf’s mother, was well known for wearing the Connaught Tiara, but this aquamarine tiara made its mark on her head as well. The large rounded sea blue stones are each framed by diamonds and connected with delicate diamond work. The overall shape resembles the kokoshnik headdresses from Russian national dress, hence the kokoshnik name.

The Swedish Aquamarine Kokoshnik Tiara

Sophie Rhys-Jones Wedding Tiara

The exact origins of the tiara are the source of the mystery. Plenty of theories as to its provenance have been tossed around over the years, but the one that seems to have gained the most widespread acceptance among jewel watchers is this: the tiara’s elements are actually four detachable anthemions from Queen Victoria’s regal circlet.

The Meiji Scroll Tiara

One of the oldest (perhaps the oldest) tiara currently in use in the Japanese imperial collection. A diamond tiara with a base of scrolls that support a series of large single diamonds. Those single diamonds can be removed, and the tiara can be worn without them or with a series of diamond star brooches attached. It’s said to be a Chaumet tiara dating from about 1885 or so, and indeed it can be seen gracing the head of each empress in the modern era from Empress Shoken (1849-1914) on.

Lilian’s Laurel Wreath Tiara

Made of diamonds set in silver and gold, it can be either a necklace with a diamond pendant or a tiara with a dangling diamond pendant in its center. The design is a classic laurel wreath form. This is one of Princess Lilian’s signature jewels, but it did not originate with her. It had been a wedding gift to Princess Margaret of Connaught in 1905, given by Queen Sophia of Sweden. Margaret’s jewels were split between her five children after her untimely death. This was one of the pieces inherited by her fourth child, Prince Bertil.

The Amethyst Necklace Tiara

The Amethyst Necklace Tiara from Norway’s royal collection couldn’t be simpler to sort out: it’s a tiara of amethysts that is convertible to a necklace. The amethysts are surrounded by diamonds and are supported by small diamond flowers in this petite piece, which is actually part of a parure (a set of jewels intended to be worn together).

The Five Aquamarine Tiara

It was worn by the Queen during a tour of Canada in 1970, and hadn’t been seen since. Until recent years, it has now graced the Countess of Wessex’s head, I assume as a loan from the Queen.

Queen Saleha of Brunei’s Emerald Tiara

Queen Saleha also owns an emerald and diamond tiara, featuring six large emeralds, which has been worn by her daughters; Princess Rashidah Sa’adatul, Princess Majeedah Nuurul, Princess Hafizah Sururul, and her daughter-in-law, Princess Raabi’atul ‘Adawiyyah.

Queen Saleha of Brunei’s Emerald Tiara

The Nine Prong Tiara

It has more than 500 diamonds. They are arranged in a sunburst-type motif that terminates in nine graduated prongs. It was first worn by Queen Sophia (1836-1913) She wore it as a princess and later as a queen, and it’s possible it was originally created from an older piece in the Swedish royal collection. After Sophia, we next see it on Queen Louise of Sweden (1889-1965), who was the second wife of Sophia’s grandson, King Gustaf VI Adolf.

Queen Josephine’s Amethyst Tiara

The Swedish jewel collection owes a serious debt to Josephine of Leuchtenberg (1807-1876), who married King Oscar I and became Queen of Sweden and Norway. Josephine’s amethyst and diamond demi-parure is one of the most impressive royal collections of amethysts, and it is still worn by the Swedish royal ladies today. It’s often said to have originated with Josephine’s grandmother Empress Joséphine, wife of Napoleon I.

Marie-Louise Emerald and Diamond Diadem

Napoleon gave the Diadem to his second wife, the Empress Marie-Louise, on the occasion of their marriage. Originally the diadem, commissioned in 1810, was set with more than 1,000 diamonds and 79 emeralds, which were replaced in the mid-1950s with turquoise.

Marie-Louise Emerald and Diamond Diadem

The Emerald Peacock Necklace Tiara

This tiara was made in 1956 by Van Cleef & Arpels and can also be worn as a necklace. It was made using emerald jewellery that Grand Duchess Joséphine Charlotte inherited from her mother, Queen Astrid of Belgium, who in turn received them from her mother, Princess Ingeborg of Sweden

Princess Shams of Iran’s Emerald Flame Tiara

The parure of a tiara, necklace and a pair of earrings was created by Van Cleef & Arpels. It was among the large number of jewels ordered for Persian Royal Ladies to be worn at the 1967 Coronation of the Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and Farah Diba. The tiara of the parure consists of rays resembling flames. The central cluster is topped with a large pear- shaped emerald, with three smaller square-cut emeralds on either side of it.

Princess Shams of Iran’s Emerald Flame Tiara

The Saxe-Coburg and Gotha Turquoise Tiara

This is a button-style tiara that features a large set of turquoise stones, completely surrounded by diamonds. These stones are set atop a intricate framework of diamond scrolls that make it a beauty to behold. The larger buttons are also complimented by smaller turquoise pieces.

The Saxe-Coburg and Gotha Turquoise Tiara

The Persian Turquoise Tiara of Princess Margaret

The princess had a love of turquoise even as a child. She received this magnificent parure of turquoise jewels for her 21st birthday, complete with a broach and matching earrings. The tiara is made to incorporate the lamps of love, a laurel style design, and true-lovers; knots that make it truly irresistible.

The Persian Turquoise Tiara of Princess Margaret

The Teck Turquoise Tiara of the Duchess of Gloucester

This tiara boldly uses gold with a huge payoff. It features braided golden leaflets that are all connected to a single golden braid at the bottom.

The Teck Turquoise Tiara of the Duchess of Gloucester

The Cut Steel Tiara

According to the royal court, this Napoleonic era tiara was made for Queen Hortense of Holland. It is popularly thought to have been brought to Sweden by Queen Josephine. Josephine was Hortense’s niece. It is said to have remained hidden away in the palace for years, until it was discovered by Queen Silvia while exploring her way through cupboards and such after she married King Carl Gustaf. Silvia had it refurbished, and debuted it in public in 1979 during an Austrian state visit.

The Portland Sapphire Tiara

Composed of sapphires (Burma and Ceylon), diamonds, and pearls (natural saltwater). Specifically, there are twelve clusters of cushion-shaped sapphires and old-cut diamonds set in a circlet of diamond husks and swags. The tiara is bordered with diamonds with pearl finials and sapphire accents, and the whole thing is mounted in silver and gold. Its inner circumference measures 54 centimeters.

The Luxembourg Empire Tiara

Composed of massive amounts of diamonds in the Empire style potentially dating from the early 19th century, it earns its name on scale alone.

The Ancona Tiara

The Ancona Tiara is a pearl and diamond tiara with Italian heritage. The body of the tiara includes groups of three round pearls in diamond trefoil surrounds on a pearl and gold base. The tiara is topped with pearls in two rows, a lower row of round pearls and a top row of upright drop pearls which are slightly irregular in shape – clearly old, baroque pearls. It was made for Princess Maria Anna Carolina of Saxony (1799- 1832) sometime around her 1817 marriage to Leopold II, Grand Duke of Tuscany.

Princess Ayako’s Tiara

The princesses of the Japanese imperial family are all presented with tiaras when they officially come of age at 20 years old. These tiaras are often newly made and are always completed in white jewels (diamonds or and pearls), and are accompanied by a complete parure. The tiara of Princess Ayako follows these guidelines, with a few design twists to set it apart. Whereas many of the imperial family tiaras avoid using motifs from nature and are almost overwhelmingly symmetrical – including many with necklaces that are near-perfect mirrors of the tiara – Ayako’s parure sets itself apart with an asymmetrical floral design.

The Countess of Villagonzalo’s Meander Tiara

It’s actually two tiaras stacked on top of each other and can convert into a necklace. Spanish jeweler Ansorena crafted this tiara around 1898, just around the time that jewelers were beginning to master the use of platinum. The lightness and strength of the metal allowed for a delicate and intricate Belle Époque design. The tiara includes approximately 33.5 carats of old brilliant, single, and rose-cut diamonds. The construction features millegrain detailing and knifewire tracery. The top tiara has a band of meandering Greek key motifs in the center; forget-me-not flowers and trailing laurel leaves representing true love and the triumph of love fill out the rest of the piece.

The Countess of Villagonzalo’s Meander Tiara

Princess Marie’s Diamond Floral Tiara

This diamond floral tiara belonged to Princess Dagmar of Denmark, daughter of King Frederik VIII. It returned to the main royal line and King Frederik IX (who was Dagmar’s nephew) gave it to his daughter, Margrethe.

Princess Marie’s Diamond Floral Tiara

The Henckel Von Donnersmarck Emerald Tiara

When Sotheby’s sold this tiara in 2011 it set a record as the most expensive tiara ever sold. It was commissioned by German prince Guido Henckel Von Donnersmarck for his second wife Katharina Slepzow. The diamond base of the tiara showcases 11 large cushion-shaped diamonds. Surrounded by pierced and millegrain-set rose and brilliant-cut diamonds with lily of the valley motifs between the stones, a line oflaurel leaves below and swags above. These 11 polished, pear-shaped emeralds add up to approximately 500 carats. They are drilled all the way through, a technique which can be a bit jarring to an eye accustomed to more modern settings. Both the shape and the drilling method are typical of stones shaped in India around the 17th century, and were originally a feature in the collection of a Maharaja. The emeralds then made their way to France around the 18th century.

The Henckel Von Donnersmarck Emerald Tiara

rincess Louise of Orléans’ Belle Époque Tiara

This diamond tiara was given to Princess Louise shorty after it was made in 1905. from old-cut, old pear- shaped and rose-cut diamonds set in platinum. It has an inner circumference of 21.2 centimeters. It belonged to Louise of Orléans (1882-1958), who was a Princess of Bourbon-Two Sicilies and, in 1907, married Infante Carlos of Spain, Prince of Bourbon

rincess Louise of Orléans’ Belle Époque Tiara

Queen Mary’s Diamond Bandeau Tiara

The story starts with the detachable brooch that sits at the center. It dates from 1893 and is the oldest part of the tiara. The brooch is a classic style with a large brilliant diamond at the center, surrounded by nine brilliant diamonds. It was a gift to Princess Victoria Mary of Teck (later Queen Mary) from the County of Lincoln for her 1893 wedding to the Duke of York (later King George V). Queen Mary commissioned this Diamond Bandeau Tiara to fit the County of Lincoln brooch in 1932. This English-made jewel is crafted from large and small brilliant diamonds pavé-set in platinum, in a design pierced with interlaced ovals. It went unseen for decades until, that is, it reappeared on Meghan Markle as she married Prince Harry.

The Kent Diamond and Pearl Fringe Tiara

The Kent Diamond and Pearl Fringe Tiara is a comb- style take on a fringe tiara that includes diamond uprights of alternating heights – the tallest ones topped with a single pearl each – set on a bandeau of round and lozenge-shaped diamonds. It goes by many names, and there are at least two theories about its provenance. One popular explanation is that it was a gift from the Duchess of Kent’s parents and could have been a Worsley heirloom, but an alternate explanation is that it is a transformed piece from Queen Mary.

The Kent Diamond and Pearl Fringe Tiara

Queen Mary’s Lozenge Bandeau

This diamond bandeau tiara with geometric lozenge motifs belonged to Queen Mary and was also worn by Princess Margaret. What little we can say about this piece is summed up in Leslie Field’s The Queen’s Jewels: “When she was eighteen Princess Margaret borrowed a tiara from her grandmother Queen Mary. This diamond bandeau had lozenge-shaped motifs and was originally surmounted by thirteen large oval oriental pearls set on spikes. By 1946, however Queen Mary had removed the pearls. In September 1948 the eighteen-year -old Princess wore it when on one of her first official engagements she represented King George VI at the Inauguration of Queen Juliana of the Netherlands in Amsterdam, the Dutch equivalent of a coronation.”

Queen Alexandrine’s Russian Sapphire Tiara

Queen Alexandrine’s Russian Sapphire Tiara was a gift to Princess Alexandrine of Mecklenburg- Schwerin (1879-1952) when she married Prince Christian of Denmark in 1898. This imperial wedding gift diadem is attributed to jewelers C.E. Bolin in St. Petersburg, circa 1897-1898. There are eight oval-cut Ceylon sapphires weighing 33 carats in total, with old mine- and single-cut diamonds weighing 53 carats in total. The piece is mounted in gold and silver and the base is wrapped in velvet ribbon.

Queen Alexandrine’s Russian Sapphire Tiara

The Portland Tiara

Cartier was commissioned in 1902 by the 6th Duke of Portland to create this tiara for his wife, Winifred, who then wore it to the 1902 coronation of King Edward VII. The Duchess was a canopy bearer for Queen Alexandra during the ceremony, and later served as her Mistress of the Robes. In the Duke’s own words “While my wife was dressing for dinner… I threw myself into an armchair. Both she and her maid gave a scream and so did I, for I had sat down upon the very sharp points of the diamond tiara. Naturally the tiara was broken to bits, while the lower part of my poor person resembled the diamond mines of Golconda, so full was it of precious stones.”

The Nine Provinces Tiara

The Nine Provinces Tiara was a wedding gift from the people of Belgium to Princess Astrid of Sweden, who married the future King Leopold III in 1926. Created by Belgian jeweler Van Bever, there are more than 100 carats of diamonds at play in this flexible diadem. It was originally given as a diamond bandeau in a stylized Greek key motif topped with 11 large diamonds from the (now former) Belgian colony of the Congo set on spikes. A set of diamond arches was added to enclose each of the 11 independent stones, making a more impressive tiara.

The Nuits Claires Tiara

Called the Nuits Claires Tiara (or Lyse Notter Diademet), it is a new piece made by Mauboussin, designed in cooperation with Princess Marie, and loaned to her for use. The tiara is made of white gold in a vine-like design of leaves and flowers set with 13.35 carats of diamonds and 13.58 carats of sapphires. The sapphires color some of the flowers and are studded around the rest of the floral design, which wasn’t immediately evident when the tiara was in use. The central stone is a pear- shaped Ceylon sapphire of 6.82 carats.

The Ruby Peacock Tiara

In 1897, Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands commissioned Johann Eduard Schürmann & Co. to make a diamond and ruby tiara using rubies that once belonged to Queen Sophie, the first wife of Wilhelmina’s father Willem III (Wilhelmina’s mother was Queen Emma, Willem’s second wife). The result is this tiara filled with swirls around a central element resembling a peacock tail.

The Brunswick Tiara

The Brunswick Tiara belongs today to the Hanover family, but it didn’t start its life in Germany. It started out in the same place several other storied tiaras did: in Empress Joséphine’s jewel collection. Joséphine, the first wife of Napoleon I, wore this scrolling diadem with three particularly large diamonds in the center and a laurel wreath top. But like many of those other jewels, it ultimately left France. It turned up for sale in Germany at just the time that Prince Ernst August of Hanover was preparing to marry Princess Victoria Louise of Prussia (1892-1980), the daughter of German Emperor Wilhelm II.

The Cambridge Sapphire Parure

The Cambridge Sapphire Parure takes its name from Augusta of Hesse-Kassel, who became the Duchess of Cambridge in 1818 when she married Prince Adolphus, Duke of Cambridge and tenth child of George III. The Duchess of Cambridge gave these sapphire and diamond jewels to her daughter, also named Augusta, when she married the Grand Duke of Mecklenburg -Strelitz in 1843.

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