1) The Oriental Circlet, 1853
Photo linked from coloreddiamond.info.
This ruby and diamond tiara, made by Garrard's, was designed by Prince Albert for his wife. Originally, the rubies were opals, which were Albert's favorite stone (and one of mine as well!), but Queen Alexandra later replaced them with rubies that had been given to Victoria in 1873. The design, which includes lotus flowers and Moghul arches, was inspired by the Indian jewellry gifted to Queen Victoria during the Great Exhibition of 1851. The circlet was passed down through Victoria's family line and was one of the Queen Mother's favorites. It is currently owned by the Queen, who still wears it on occassion.
2) The Emerald and Diamond Tiara, 1845
Photo linked from The Anglophile blog.
This tiara (more appropriately a diadem) is part of a set which also includes earrings and two brooches. All were designed by Prince Albert in the Gothic revival style popular during the period. The set was produced by Joseph Kitching in 1845 and Albert allegedly paid a total of £1,150 for it. In 1846, Victoria wrote in her diary, ""My beloved one gave me such a lovely unexpected present - a wreath, going right around the head, made to match the brooch and earrings he gave me at Christmas."
The Royal Family (1846), by Franz Xaver Winterhalter.
Image linked from the Royal Collection website.
Detail of the above painting, showing the emerald and diamond
tiara, along with the matching earrings and brooches.
The current owner and location of this tiara are unknown.
3) The Diamond and Sapphire Tiara, 1842
Photo linked from The Royal Forum.
Another Gothic-revival-inspired design by Prince Albert, this tiara features diamonds set in silver and kite- and cushion-shaped sapphires set in gold. It cost the Prince Consort £415 when he commissioned it in 1842. It was later given as a gift to the Princess Royal by her mother Queen Victoria, and then passed down through the family over the years. It is now currently owned by the Earl and Countess of Harewood.
Queen Victoria (1842), by Franz Xaver Winterhalter.
Image linked from the Royal Collection website.
Detail of the above painting, showing a close-up of the diamond
and sapphire diadem, worn at the back of the head.
And one honorable mention: the "Girls of Great Britain and Ireland" tiara, 1893
Photo linked from GoldenAgedRegina blog.
Even though this piece was not worn or even gifted by Queen Victoria, I have to include it here anyway because it's my favorite of all the British royal tiaras. This tiara was a wedding present to Princess May of Teck when she married Victoria's grandson; she became Queen Mary when her husband came to the throne as George V and she was thus the present Queen's grandmother. The tiara is named for the group of women who collected a total of five thousand pounds to contribute this unforgettable gift to their future Queen Consort. Made by Garrard's of diamonds mounted on silver, the tiara originally featured pearl finials, which Queen Mary later replaced with diamonds.
Queen Mary with the "Girls of Great Britain and Ireland" tiara.
Photo linked from Golden Aged Regina blog.
"Granny's tiara" was later given by Queen Mary as a wedding present to her granddaughter Princess Elizabeth (Queen Elizabeth II) to celebrate her wedding in 1947. Though Elizabeth chose the stunning fringe tiara for her special day instead, she has frequently worn her grandmother's piece for formal and state occassions throughout her reign. And if you think it looks a little familiar, you're right: this is the tiara featured in the Queen portrait on British currency!
The Queen wearing the tiara, her favorite.
Photo linked from The Daily Mail.
So which one is your favorite? And who else besides me is getting out her tiara for Friday morning's celebration? :-)
For more on the British royal weddings of the past, be sure to check out our earlier post. And for more on the tiaras of the British and European royal families, see this great "Tiara-pedia" on Mad Hattery.
Printed Sources featuring some of these tiaras:
- Tiaras: Past and Present, by Geoffrey Munn - This book is a re-release of the exhibit catalogue for "Tiaras," an exhibition staged at the V&A in 2002; it includes photos of several of the tiaras profiled above, with loads of stunning detail shots.
- Tiaras: A History of Splendor, by Geoffrey Munn - I'm honestly not sure how this book relates to the one above, other than that it's four times as long. I personally have not seen a copy, though I'm sorely tempted to buy one now...!
- The Queen's Jewels: The Personal Collection of Elizabeth II, by Leslie Field - While most accounts of British royal jewels focus on the Crown Jewels, this one is unique in that it offers a rare glimpse at the personal, privately-owned collection of the Queen.