The Timeless Tiara

The tiara is one of the most sustaining and evolving pieces of statement dressing in history. A stunning band of jewellery which wraps around the head rather than encasing it as a crown.

The tiara itself dates back from being the original ‘headdress of Persian kings’. It has always been associated with the ‘crowning of love’, beauty, purity and loss of innocence, hence its appearance as bridal headwear. However, it did not come to describe the jewelled headwear of Western royalty until the 18th century, when it was embraced by the Napoleonic court, its style and value becoming more and more extravagant during his reign. Across the channel, the young Queen Victoria was so enraptured by their splendour and sparkle she started to commission her own range. She went on to become the great a patron of a priceless collection of tiaras.

This tiara will be offered for the first time on Elmwood’s Fine Jewellery Auction, 14th October 2020.

"The tiara has remained one of the ultimate fashion statements"

Whilst still remaining within the domain of royalty until today – the Queen owns one of the most remarkable collections – by the early 20th century they became a more ‘egalitarian’ style favourite outside royal circles with the emergence of the decadent and rebellious ‘flappers’. In the 1930s with the emergence of fashion and couture, its Parisian design gurus designed collections of spectacular tiaras for the catwalk based on Art Nouveau and Art Deco designs which stunned fashionistas across Europe. By mid 20th century and the glamour of the post-war austerity in the 1950s the tiara was again back into the fashion headlines.

In particular, Hollywood was where the tiara represented unabashed opulence and glitz. In 1953 Marilyn Monroe spoke the oft-quoted words in the movie ‘Gentleman Prefer Blondes’: “A kiss on the hand might feel very good, but a diamond tiara is forever”. A few years later in 1957, The Mike Todd tiara which was originally created around 1880, was presented by producer Mike Todd to his wife Elizabeth Taylor in 1957, when his film ‘Around the World in 80 Days’ won the Oscar for Best Picture.

While still sustaining a powerful presence at the most significant and mostly royal occasions, from Princess Diana’s Wedding to the Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding, these have inspired a following making tiaras the high fashion bridalwear headdress. But more recently tiaras have had yet another incarnation as not only a stunning headdress for weddings for non-royals but as an accessory loved by leading models and pop stars worn on catwalks to concerts. Think Courtney Love, Gigi Hadid, Lady Gaga wearing tiaras designed by the likes of Saint Laurent, Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels to name but a few.

The tiara has evolved with history, fashion styles, and occasions but has always remained one of the ultimate fashion statements. The longevity of the much-loved tiara lives on.

Some of our favourite tiaras, belonging to previous and future auctions.