tiaras & so much sparkly
January 3, 2013 11:27 AM   Subscribe

It's Tiara Thursday at The Royal Order of Sartorial Splendor, where each week the provenance & history of a different royal tiara is highlighted. You could start browsing from top 15 readers' favorite tiaras or the top 10 ultimate tiara collection, featuring such sparkly as the Danish Ruby Parure Tiara and the Girls of Great Britain & Ireland Tiara.

Scroll down for "Featured Tiaras" (in clickable pictures by country) on the blog's Jewel Central page - along with other sorts of sparkly & information:

tiara 101!
*tiara terminology
*the rules of tiara-wearing
*tiaras and hair

what are those ribbons and brooches piled onto royal outfits?
*royal family orders
*sashes and stuff, part 1 and part 2

who owns royal jewels?
*crown jewels
*family jewel foundations
*personal property
*loaned jewels
*acquiring new jewels

There's plenty of Queen Elizabeth II sparkly on this blog (top 10: the Queen's best diamonds and her coronation) but if you'd like even more, the Royal Order blogger maintains another blog solely devoted to the Queen's jewels.
posted by flex (46 comments total) 34 users marked this as a favorite

Amusingly, we discussed whether or not you had multiple crowns last night at the Chicago meetup.

(Well, it wasn't really a discussion, more of a stated assumption and a bunch of nodding.)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 11:52 AM on January 3, 2013

Fun post! Thanks!
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 12:00 PM on January 3, 2013

My wife threw a birthday party for herself and a friend who has the same birthday and the discussion of whether to wear birthday crowns or birthday tiaras was shockingly heated.

Naturally, my wife preferred the tiaras because I would never marry someone with wanted to wear anything as tacky as a crown.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 12:09 PM on January 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

I came to this thread specifically to summon the Whelk and in retrospect I do not even understand why for a single moment I thought this action would be necessary.
posted by elizardbits at 12:15 PM on January 3, 2013 [3 favorites]

I came to this thread to inform everybody I am eight years old and this is a post about the crown jewels.
posted by Dr Dracator at 12:18 PM on January 3, 2013

And I just simply like shiny sparkly things that are worth a gazillion. Ooooh! Thanks Flex!
posted by infini at 12:26 PM on January 3, 2013

I prefer tutu tuesday, tiaras are too feminine for me.
posted by jeffburdges at 12:54 PM on January 3, 2013

I'm not feeling well at work today and this was just the thing to distract me. Thanks so much for posting this -- there is so much here! Ooh, sparkly.
posted by fiercecupcake at 12:54 PM on January 3, 2013

I had no idea tiaras could be worn as necklaces? sometimes? *off to investigate*
posted by nile_red at 1:06 PM on January 3, 2013

this thread needs toddlers.
posted by Riton at 1:09 PM on January 3, 2013

I wish I had a reason to ever wear a tiara. I think I'd look very good in one.
posted by jeather at 1:32 PM on January 3, 2013 [2 favorites]

Oh I've had the Royal Order bookmarked for ages and never got around to looking at it. Thank you for reminding me. It feeds into my Royal Dreams of Grandiosness.

Now. Which tiara is appropriate for the gym?
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 1:33 PM on January 3, 2013

So...when they finally let me into the Tower of London, they had to nudge me along from my rooted spot staring at the Koh-i-Noor.
posted by infini at 1:50 PM on January 3, 2013

Jewelry? Seriously?
posted by taz at 1:58 PM on January 3, 2013

I now have an exquisite longing for a parure that includes pieces of jewelry that transform into other pieces of jewelry. It's so terribly practical, after all.
posted by EvaDestruction at 2:22 PM on January 3, 2013 [3 favorites]

I LOVE tiaras. I wish there were more occasions to wear them. And that they didn't cost a bajillion dollars. Only brides and royalty can legitimately get away with donning them.

If I were the queen, I would wear one all the time, including when walking the corgis and riding my horses. And I would invite my friends over and let them try some on.
posted by shoesietart at 2:58 PM on January 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

My only contribution to this thread is to state that I tried to avoid the Royal wedding betwixt Crown Prince Frederik & Mary Donaldson (of Tasmania) back in 2004 SO HARD that I got myself all tangled up in downtown Copenhagen, landed in a super-exclusive zone and ended up pressed against a wall fifteen steps away from Mary's horse-drawn carriage as it came to a halt outside the church. I've never seen better skin care in my entire life - she was radiant - but her wedding tiara was a bit meh.

My royalist mum saw me on TV and I've never been able to live it down.
posted by kariebookish at 3:36 PM on January 3, 2013 [4 favorites]

I was not a tiara person until I saw that Naasut tiara.
posted by Dr. Zira at 4:10 PM on January 3, 2013

this thread needs toddlers.

No thank you, I've already eaten.
posted by elizardbits at 5:00 PM on January 3, 2013 [2 favorites]

What a lovely romp of a post! I shall enjoy this for days and weeks to come. Thank you, flex. All the jewels--and yes, the tiaras!! I have barely begun on the brooches. I love it. (I used to stop in at the Natural History museum just to visit the Hope Diamond.) Granny's chips and all the other pictures at these links are a feast for my eyes.
posted by Anitanola at 5:05 PM on January 3, 2013

One year, I was Snow Queen in the Nutcracker and got to wear a sparkly sparkly beautiful sparkly tiara. I felt so glittery and regal and sparkly!
posted by ChuraChura at 5:19 PM on January 3, 2013

Oh my god this site ate like five hours of my day. Look at all the sparkles!!
posted by Andrhia at 6:33 PM on January 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

It's wild how much royal head sizes vary! The same tiara looks like a wedding ring sitting on one lady's head and the next lady is wearing it as a headband. Crazy.
posted by HotToddy at 7:35 PM on January 3, 2013

shoesietart said: I LOVE tiaras. I wish there were more occasions to wear them. And that they didn't cost a bajillion dollars. Only brides and royalty can legitimately get away with donning them. If I were the queen, I would wear one all the time, including when walking the corgis and riding my horses. And I would invite my friends over and let them try some on.

I've said this on other threads; but I wear my tiara all the time. Well, not all the time, but I do wear it out and about. Because. I have a tiara, and I see no reason not to wear it. It's sparkly, and it makes me happy. Also, people are nice to you when you wear a tiara. Either because they respect that any woman willing to wear a tiara should not be trifled with; or because they think you are a crazy person, and treat you gently and delicately, like a fragile, slightly insane egg.

Either way; you get to wear a tiara!
posted by dejah420 at 8:09 PM on January 3, 2013 [12 favorites]

My favorite tiara related moment on television.

I own tiaras, cheap ones, but I own them. I wear them whenever I need to feel better. Always on my birthday, often on others' birthdays. Hell, a Friday night that just needs some sparkle. Every woman should own a tiara!
posted by SuzySmith at 9:31 PM on January 3, 2013 [2 favorites]

Excuse me while I scroll through the sparkly. Awesome post.
posted by immlass at 9:44 PM on January 3, 2013

Yesterday was my mother's birthday. When I called her on our way to pick her up for dinner, she told us how she'd renewed her driver's license earlier that day. "And you know what I always do on my birthday," she said.

Why, yes. Yes, I do. Every year, she wears her tiara all day.

So yes, she is wearing her tiara in her new driver's license picture. The guy said, "Do you wanna take that thing off?" and she said, "Nope!" so he just gave her the thumbs-up and hit Click.

She doesn't have the actual license yet, but she insisted on showing the temporary printout to everyone we met at the restaurant.

posted by Madamina at 10:27 PM on January 3, 2013 [10 favorites]

The year I got a birthday tiara was the best birthday. And yes, I was a grown ass woman at the time.

Which is to say, I'm bringing back Tiara Thursday for 2013, and it's a shame this post wasn't part of the best post contests in December!
posted by Space Kitty at 11:37 PM on January 3, 2013 [2 favorites]

I'm confused. Why are all those royal women wearing tiaras? I thought they were meant for gay men and drag queens, and anyone between.
posted by Goofyy at 4:58 AM on January 4, 2013

Space Kitty, I used to do Tiara Tuesday! Yeah, after this post, I think the tiara's going to be worn a little more...
posted by fiercecupcake at 5:14 AM on January 4, 2013 [1 favorite]

Goofy I know your question was not serious but I remember reading that QEII (the person, not the ship) has a rule that she is never bare headed-- hats during the day and tiaras at night and times of formal wear. This is to remind everybody that she is not a mere mortal, but a Monarch.

It must be so strange to be Her.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 5:27 AM on January 4, 2013

The Queen has all sorts of little sartorial bits and bobs that FASCINATE me. Lots of people probably have heard that she chooses those bright and rather mumsy pastels so she can always be seen in a crowd, particularly because she's not that tall (okay that lady is 7'), but I had no idea that her dresses actually have chain weights sewn into them so that the hems never fly up to cause a Royal Wardrobe Malfunction or Similar.

She is the consummate professional at her job.

Ella Kay's Mad Hattery blog (which may be going on hiatus) is THE place to go. And she's got A Tiara A Day. They are truly majestic.
posted by Madamina at 7:16 AM on January 4, 2013 [2 favorites]

This is a great post. I also lost hours of my day (and most of my phone's battery power) to reading about sparkley things.

I've never been a girly-girl or had the urge for anything with diamonds, let alone a tiara, but this picture of Princess Margaret in the tub with (just) a tiara has convinced me I need one in my life - they're really quite practical.

I'm thinking of this one because no one seems to be wearing it these days. Or this one. Or...
posted by hydrobatidae at 7:29 AM on January 4, 2013 [1 favorite]

I wore the family tiara at my wedding.

Yes, I am part of a very notable royal family: my aunt was the FFA Princess in high school. Not only did she have to be pretty and poised to win the throne, she had to rope a calf better than any of the other girls.

Sometimes I wear the tiara when I clean house, to remind myself from whence I came.
posted by padraigin at 7:33 AM on January 4, 2013 [6 favorites]

Whoa. This description of Princess Margaret's tiara is leaving me reeling with questions:
And it is a convertible piece, breaking down into a necklace and a set of 11 brooches (brooch fittings and screwdriver included within the tiara’s blue leather case, naturally).[...] Sometimes people cry out that the Queen should have bought it to keep it in the family, but really, that was never going to happen. She - most certainly not a magpie herself - has plenty of tiaras she’s already not wearing, and it’s not like this one had a huge royal history. And so we are left to weep that we might never see it again.

Christie’s said at the time that the auction was won by a private Asian buyer.
So if one happens to have a tiara that reassembles into a necklace and 11 brooches, who takes on the task of assembly? One's lady's maid? Footman? Butler? Husband? And who would ever wear 11 brooches at one time? Where and how?

Also if one happens to be the be The Queen with so many tiaras she can't wear them all, how does one remember what one has? Photograph album? Rolodex? Handy walk-in vault? Or just a really superb memory?

Which leads me to wonder about the treasure trove that is The Queen's jewels (both personal and Crown.) Are they handy or locked up? Could one change one's mind at the last minute and decide to wear the pink diamonds rather than the sapphires or does that require several hours notice?

Plus, Kate Middleton. Does she ever think about access to all those treasures? I mean, yes, the boy and the mansion/castles, and the job, and the servants, and the fame are all hers but does she ever squee with the delight that some day she will have the freedom to wear any and all of that incredible collection? I know I would. Do you think she even knows what The Queen owns? I know there have been coffee table books and even documentaries devoted to the topic, but do those close to the throne have a pretty good idea of what HRH has in her vault?

And finally, the private Asian buyer. Collector do you think? How does one display jewels? Like porcelain and crystal-- that is lit up and behind glass? Or is it all kept under lock and key and only brought out to amaze visitors?
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 11:44 AM on January 4, 2013

And finally, the private Asian buyer. Collector do you think?

Maybe, maybe not. Stuff like this gets worn a lot more. Its also investment value.

Rising global demand for the precious stone is being fuelled by increased consumer spending on diamond jewellery in developing regions such as China, India and the Middle East. Rapidly expanding middle- and upper-class consumers in these regions can now afford to buy jewellery in volumes large enough to fuel rising diamond prices worldwide.

"In recent years, the most striking phenomenon relating to the demand for luxury goods has been the growth in Asia, particularly throughout what is known as 'Greater China' - which includes China itself, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan," Mr Prinsloo says. "Sales of luxury goods in this region have been growing fast, now accounting for 10 per cent of the market. In the near future, it could overtake Japan in luxury goods consumption."

According to Bain & Co, high-net-worth individuals and banks in China, India and the Middle East, in particular, have shown interest in investing in large, high-quality diamonds.

"We are hearing of people in the Middle East buying diamonds as a physical asset in uncertain times and this belief may have driven some additional purchases," says Stephen Lussier, an executive director of De Beers and the chief executive of Forevermark, the De Beers Group diamond brand.

As for the Queen's Jewels and whatnot, I suspect there's some Groom or Lady in Waiting whose sole job is to manage a staff to oversee the whole collection, at least the private aspects.

Up to 12 people staff the Queen’s wardrobe department for big occasions, including Angela, a personal assistant, plus three dressmakers, a milliner and four dressers, who, as their name suggests, help the Queen get dressed as well as keeping clothes in pristine condition.

The public or state stuff seems to have its own department.


I love how they talk about this stuff - the wiki link is fascinating:

"Granny's Chips" - Cullinan III & IV

Known as "Granny's Chips", the Cullinan III and Cullinan IV were two of several stones cut from the Cullinan Diamond in 1905. The large diamond found in South Africa was presented to Edward VII on his birthday. Two of the stones cut from the diamond were the 94.4-carat (18.9 g) Cullinan III, a clear pear shaped stone. The other a 63.6-carat (12.7 g) cushion shaped stone. Queen Mary had these stones made into a brooch with the Cullinan III hanging from the IV. Elizabeth II inherited the piece from her grandmother in 1953. The brooch is the most valuable brooch in the world with a value of over £50,000,000.

Kate does indeed get to borrow Granny's chips ;p

Interesting questions though... (and I must sleep not play on teh googles)
posted by infini at 12:40 PM on January 4, 2013

but do those close to the throne have a pretty good idea of what HRH has in her vault?

Wiki seems to imply the big and fancy stuff surely but if you see the beginning of the link, it says nobody gets to look or see or evaluate or value the stash.
posted by infini at 12:42 PM on January 4, 2013

This seems to imply there's a premium on jewellery over and above the value based on who owned it - Diana, Wallis Simpson, Princess Margaret.
posted by infini at 12:45 PM on January 4, 2013

posted by infini at 12:45 PM on January 4, 2013

This seems to imply there's a premium on jewellery over and above the value based on who owned it - Diana, Wallis Simpson, Princess Margaret.

Well, yes, because the Asian buyer of Margaret's tiara paid roughly 5 times the estimated value.
But it certainly did make some serious bank: the original estimation for the tiara’s price was £150,000 - £200,000, but the combination of royal provenance and sale publicity pushed the final price all the way up to £926,400 ($1,704,576).
Wiki seems to imply the big and fancy stuff surely but if you see the beginning of the link, it says nobody gets to look or see or evaluate or value the stash.

How strange.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 2:04 PM on January 4, 2013

Here is a detailed article on the 2006 auction of Princess Margaret's collection. The prices fetched were up to 100 times the estimated worth.
The clearest indication of how much the public cherished Princess Margaret's memory (or perhaps of its collective ability to spot a bargain) came with some of the more modest items in the catalogue. Two small ivory bracelets, for example, - little different from those you might buy for a child in a holiday souvenir shop - sold for £3,360. The original estimate was between £200 and £300.

Likewise an ordinary looking pin, bearing a single cultured pearl, was valued less than £60. It went for £6,000, a staggering 100 times the highest estimate.

Another of the star items was her Faberge clock, a gift from Queen Mary. The estimate was that it might fetch £600,000 to £800,000. It sold for £1,240,000 to an anonymous telephone bidder.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 2:30 PM on January 4, 2013

What sleep? ;p

Anyway, back to your question,

How strange.

Not really. Even bank vaults give you your privacy. They have a sign on the door that they flip over once a customer enters.
posted by infini at 2:44 PM on January 4, 2013

No, I mean strange in that nobody gets to look at it. She is such a public person, her jewels are of great interest and you would think that some where there would be a list of all of them and an estimated value.

I did find this interesting tidbit from the wiki article on the crown jewels
In 1843, Queen Victoria appointed Garrard & Co to the position of Crown Jewellers, leading to the production of numerous pieces of silverware and jewellery for the Royal Family, as well as the upkeep of the Crown Jewels. Garrard dealt with a number of famous jewels, such as the Cullinan diamonds (including Cullinan I, "The Great Star of Africa"), and created such pieces as the Imperial Crown of India in 1911, the crown of Queen Mary for her coronation, and the Crown of Queen Elizabeth in 1937. In 1852, Garrard were given the responsibility of re-cutting the famous Koh-i-Noor diamond into a brilliant.

On 15 July 2007 an announcement was made in the Court Circular, under Buckingham Palace, that Garrard & Co's services as crown jeweller were no longer required, with the reason cited being that it was simply 'time for a change.'[35] G. Collins and Sons were appointed the new Crown Jewellers.
Time for a change? After 164 years? That sounds like someone offended Her Majesty.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 3:07 PM on January 4, 2013

Ok, I see what you're saying.

From the wiki link on her personal collection and that Household link from the official UK Royal website, you can see that the two sets of things are separate entities. That is, those that belong to the Crown and those that belong to her, individually and personally.

Its the latter she doesn't let people get into, except for what's public knowledge in the wiki link for eg. I guess because most people wouldn't want to show their personal jewelery connection to everyone anyhow, you know? I mean we're not talking some beads here.

Aside from the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom, the royal family has amassed its own jewelry collection, which is notably heavy on sapphires, a royal favorite.

Unlike the Crown Jewels, the jewels in the Queen’s collection do not belong to the state but are the personal property of Elizabeth II. Many of the jewels in the Queen’s collection were inherited from her ancestors. Due to laws that prohibit the Crown Jewels from leaving the United Kingdom, pieces from the Queen’s collection are worn on state visits to foreign countries.

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s personal collection is kept in a large vault beneath Buckingham Palace. The value of this collection is currently estimated at about $39 million. However, the last large-scale valuation of the royal family’s collection was conducted in 1989 by Mr. Laurence Krashes, senior appraiser for Harry Winston. At the time, Mr. Krashes was not given access to the jewels. Instead, he was forced to rely on photos and records to make his assessments, so his valuations are not considered terribly reliable.

It is also difficult to appraise jewelry with a special provenance. There is an indeterminate multiplier effect attached to any jewel associated with celebrity. Although every piece in the royal collection is charged with status or prestige, pieces cherished by Diana, for example, might have special value should they, for some reason, come up at auction.

Below, we describe a few of the sapphire baubles that are found in the Queen’s collection.

Also, the concept of "entailed" property and personal property might help.

It is entailed. An entail was a legal device to ensure that property would be handed down in a way that suited the ancestor, normally to a male heir, thus keeping the family estate intact.

In the entail system, the property owner, The Earl’s father, does not pass it in fee simple to the son. The Earl has a life estate, meaning he has the full use of the property during his life and, at the end of his life, it will pass to his son or to someone else in the family- often the closest male heir.

So just the way landed estates are held in trust for the next generation, imagine what the Monarchy would be holding in trust for the next generations? Gotta protect the Crown Jewels ;p
posted by infini at 4:00 PM on January 4, 2013

As for the "time to change jewellers after great grandma Victoria", I wonder if this snippet from Garrard's wiki page might offer a clue:

Asprey & Garrard was bought by Prince Jefri Bolkiah, a younger brother of the Sultan of Brunei, in 1995 for £243m, and later acquired by private investors Lawrence Stroll and Silas Chou for an undisclosed sum in 2000. The company demerged in 2002, with Garrard returning to the Albemarle Street site it first occupied in 1911
Garrard was acquired by the US private equity firm Yucaipa Companies in 2006, ending its partnership with Asprey.

Jade Jagger was the creative director for the company from 2002 until being replaced by Stephen Webster in 2008.[1]

I'd want stability in a company responsible for the Crown, literally.

OOO found some pics of her own stuff here
posted by infini at 4:11 PM on January 4, 2013

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