30 August 2013

Readers' Ultimate Tiaras: Pick Two Diamonds!

Two choices for you today. Choice #1 (read to the end for #2):

Pick your other diamond motif!

So far, we've had two categories specially devoted to diamond-only tiaras: florals and leafy stuff, and fringes. (And though they weren't all diamond categories, your big gun and small tiara winners are also purely diamond.) Your first choice today is another big one, and it includes whatever's left after the nature and the fringes. That'll be scrolls, festoons, diamond drops, Greek keys, stars, and so on. Some of these include floral elements or could be called a floral tiara instead - just as some of those in our floral category included other elements too. Crossover is unavoidable, so make your own call. A selection:

6. Alexandra Feodorovna's Diamond Drop Tiara
7. Empress Joséphine's Fabergé Tiara

7. Lalla Salma's Wedding Meander Tiara

8. An auctioned Liechtenstein tiara

4. Queen Maria Pia's Star Tiara
6. A Victorian star tiara

Remember you are not limited to what I show here.

Next: Choice #2.

Pick your diamond wildcard!

The second category today is also diamond-only but beyond that, it's up to you. So: another floral, another fringe, or another from today's batch. A good collection needs plenty of diamonds, methinks.

Ready to vote for your favorite?
-Vote for two tiaras in the comments, one for each category. (If you're mentioning multiple tiaras in your comment, indicate which two get your vote, or I will just count the first applicable two. One comment vote per person, please.)
-I will also count the number of "likes" or up arrows on those comments, so you can vote that way too.
-Non-royal tiaras and tiaras that no longer exist are fair game too.

UPDATE: Thanks for all our contributions! Voting is now closed.

Photos: Rex/Getty Images/Cartier/Sotheby's/Munn/Albion Art/Christie's

29 August 2013

Tiara Thursday: The Meiji Scroll Tiara

The Meiji Scroll Tiara
One of the oldest (perhaps the oldest) tiaras currently in use in the Japanese imperial collection is this one: a diamond tiara with 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 (as seen on Empress Kōjun below) or with a series of diamond star brooches attached (as seen on Empress Shōken).
Empress Shōken (left), Empress Teimei (right)
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 Shōken on. Shōken (1849-1914) was the wife of the Meiji emperor, who reigned from 1867 to 1912. During the Meiji era, Japan became more open to Western influence - including the introduction of tiaras like this one, which were not a part of traditional Japanese dress.
Empress Kōjun
The tiara has been passed to each empress since the Meiji era. It was worn by Empress Teimei (1884-1951), the wife of the Taishō emperor, and then by Empress Kōjun (1903-2000), wife of the Shōwa emperor (also known as Emperor Hirohito, the previous emperor). It is today worn by Empress Michiko, wife of the current emperor, Akihito.
Empress Michiko
Like the Imperial Chrysanthemum Tiara, it is a tiara for the empress alone. Michiko has three tiaras she uses as empress (this, the Chrysanthemum, and her honeysuckle tiara), but we don't see her in a tiara that often. Which is a shame, because this is a beautiful tiara with a design that never ages, and I'd love to see it more - it may just be my favorite Japanese tiara.

Is this your favorite Japanese tiara?

Photos: IHA/Wikipedia/Corbis

28 August 2013

Weekly Royal Fashion Awards: August 18-26, Plus Your Small Tiara Winner!

Best in Anything
Crown Princess Victoria
An engagement on the ship Götheborg, and attending the Polar Music Prize in a dress from Swedish brand Acne
Crown Princess Mary was visiting Syrian refugees in Jordan - click here for a bit on that - and Victoria was pretty much the rest of the game in these late summer slim pickings. She always makes interesting choices for the music awards, including the awkward length of this floral dress.

Who was your favorite last week?

And now for the winner of your ultimate small tiara competition. I know. The suspense is killing you.

This was a sweep like no other for the spot that we will hilariously label "small". Well, it is ultimate in every way, so there's that.

The runners up: Listen, this one was such a sweep, I don't think you could call anything a runner up. The Diamond Daisy and Queen V's Sapphire Coronet, if you must.

Here's where you stand to date:
Stay tuned for the next category!

Photos: TV4/Expressen/Acne/Getty Images

23 August 2013

Readers' Ultimate Tiaras: Pick Your Small Tiara!

(The blog returns on Wednesday!)

There are some pretty big tiaras in your ultimate tiara collection so far. Obviously! I mean, these are ultimate tiaras. But we need some size variety, right? So here we go:

Pick your favorite small tiara!

Hard to define "small" in precise terms. Sometimes a tiara only looks small because of the hairdo of its current wearer. But unless one of you wants to dash out and collect these, line 'em up nice and orderly, and let us review, we'll just have to deal (and deal we will, since we don't want you in jail).

So we have tiaras that are genuinely small (an aigrette, for example) and tiaras that are small in one way and no others (such as the Rose Cut Diamond Bandeau - short, but otherwise enormous). The decision is yours, and as always you needn't feel bound by what I choose to display below.

3. A diamond bandeau that belonged to Queen Mary
8. The Turquoise Daisy Bandeau

1. Crown Princess Victoria's 18th Birthday Tiara
6. The Swedish Diamond Bandeau
9. The Dutch Ears of Wheat Tiara

1, 2. Two amethyst tiaras from Luxembourg (on Stéphanie, appearing to include pearls)
3. The Sapphire Bracelet Bandeau
4. The Small Luxembourg Floral Tiara
7. The Citrine/Topaz and Pearl Tiara
8. The Art Deco Aquamarine Bandeau
9.  The Van Cleef and Arpels Emerald Necklace Tiara

2. The Vifte Tiara (close up shows necklace format)
9. The Braganza Bandeau Tiara
10. The Niarchos Rubies

And many more.

Ready to vote for your favorite?
-Vote for one tiara in the comments. (If you're mentioning multiple tiaras in your comment, indicate which one gets your vote, or I will just count the first applicable one. One comment vote per person, please.)
-I will also count the number of "likes" or up arrows on those comments, so you can vote that way too.
-Non-royal tiaras and tiaras that no longer exist are fair game too.

UPDATE: Thanks for your contributions, voting is now closed! The blog returns on Wednesday.

Photos: Getty Images/Royal Collection/AOP/ANP/Corbis/Life

22 August 2013

Tiara Thursday: The Wolfers Necklace Tiara

The Wolfers Necklace Tiara, in necklace form
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.
As a tiara
Fabiola used just three tiaras during her husband's reign: the Nine Provinces Tiara, her Spanish Wedding Gift Tiara, and this one. That's less than some of her queenly peers, true, but she had a tremendous amount of variety in just those three, as each one was convertible in at least one way. And the Wolfers Necklace Tiara was an important part of her collection when it came to that variety, as it not only served as an option for use when a small tiara was required, but it also served as a necklace and sometimes accompanied her two larger tiaras.
As a necklace
Since King Baudouin's death in 1993, Fabiola has restricted her jewelry usage, so we have not seen this one in some time. As with her Spanish Wedding Gift Tiara, we don't know what her plans are for the future of this piece, if we might see it continue in the Belgian royal family or if it will leave the fold. Time will tell.

Which of the tiaras worn by Fabiola is your favorite?

Photos: Corbis/dpa

21 August 2013

Wedding Wednesday: Mette-Marit at Royal Weddings

For the birthday girl (she turned 40 on the 19th), a retrospective on some of our favorite Norwegian queen consort-to-be's royal wedding guest looks - both at the weddings themselves and for some assorted other wedding events:
The Dutch wedding one just makes me sad. A raincoat and a funeral hat. (And look at her taunting us because she's got the arm candy, bad outfit and all.) Her complete 180 for her sister-in-law's wedding is almost comical in comparison, like an overcorrection that went straight into Disney territory.
She's refined that step into Disney territory over the years, still loving a pastel with some frill for her fancy tiara-sporting royal weddings, but substituting tulle volume for train length. (I do love her in those pastel gowns, oh I really do.)
The tiara count comes in at two for the Amethyst Necklace Tiara (Sweden 2013 and Denmark 2004, Part 1) , one for the borrowed Queen Maud's Pearl and Diamond Tiara (Sweden 2010) and the rest for the Diamond Daisy. Conclusion: Time for the birthday girl to get a diadem upgrade, wouldn't you say?

Which look is your favorite?

Photos: Getty Images/Corbis/Scanpix

20 August 2013

Weekly Royal Fashion Awards: August 11-17, Plus Your Convertible Tiara Winner!

Best in Back to School
Princess Isabella

Video: Princess Isabella poses with her parents before heading to her first day of school
It is always a good week when Isabella's involved, giving her little interview and sporting matching bracelets with mom. (Loving what Mary's wearing, too - loved that Isabel Marant blouse since Jennifer Aniston sported it a while back!)

Best in Birthday
Crown Princess Mette-Marit
Video: Click here for a full video of the outdoor church service celebrating Mette-Marit's 40th birthday
Haakon celebrated his 40th, now it's Mette-Marit's turn - and she did it in a very Mette-Marit way, with an outdoor church service. Wellies for everybody!

Best in Baby
Prince George

Video: Pictures of Prince George of Cambridge are released
Slightly more current news: George! Prince William's been talking about him (click here for his CNN interview), and his first pictures have been released, and that's the story of this week so far because babies will do that to you.

Who was your favorite last week?

P.S.: In sadder news last week, Prince Friso was laid to rest. Click here for a video report from the BBC. We will not cover this event here, for reasons I hope you can understand.

Next up: the winner of your convertible tiara competition...

The Grand Duchess Vladimir Tiara!
You might say this is the most famous case of multiple tiara personalities out there? A worthy addition to the collection, to be sure. Pearls, emeralds, or neither, your choice. 

Your runners up, an interesting mix of popular pieces and those that aren't that popular but sure can change it up:

And here are all your winners so far:
Stay tuned for your next vote!

Photos: NRK/British Monarchy/Corbis/Getty Images

16 August 2013

Readers' Ultimate Tiaras: Pick Your Convertible Tiara!

Here's a category many of you have been asking for, since long before we started playing this game:

Pick your ultimate convertible tiara!

Convertible. Capable of change in one way or another. More than just a stationary tiara. With magic tricks up its wee tiara sleeves, this is what we're after. These are the tiaras that can change colors, that can change shape, that can be both tiaras and necklaces or brooches or bracelets or whatever. I wonder if those of you that requested this category are aware how enormous it is? Yes, from the "common" changes - there are many, many tiaras out there that can be removed from their frame and used as a necklace, for example - to the tiaras that can totally shapeshift, here's a partial selection for you. (Do note that among those not represented here are the Floral Aigrette Tiara and the Mellerio Sapphire Tiara, convertible diadems already elected to your ultimate tiara collection.)

We'll start with the popular necklace conversion, from tiaras that can be necklaces to necklaces that can do tiara duty. All the following fit here, plus many of the tiaras that fell into our diamond fringe category if you're so inclined.
1. The Chaumet Necklace Tiara
2. The Vifte Tiara
3. Princess Caroline's Sapphire Necklace/Tiara
6. The Luxembourg Sapphire Necklace Tiara
9. The Van Cleef and Arpels Emerald Necklace Tiara
17. The Sapphire Art Deco Necklace Tiara
18. The Fabergé Cyclamen Tiara

Bracelets work as tiaras, too, in these cases and more:
1. The Luxembourg Sapphire Bracelet Tiara
2. The Cartier Bracelet Bandeau, which uses three of a set of four bracelets (diamond/ruby/emerald/sapphire) that belonged to the Queen Mother.
3. The Boucheron Bracelet Tiara

These tiaras convert to brooches, and sometimes other things:
1. The Naasut Tiara
2. The Brazilian Aquamarine Tiara (the uprights are, or at least were, detachable)
3. The Gandik Diraja converts to brooches and a locket
4. The Teck Circlet Tiara
5. The Bains de Mer Tiara
6. The late Nizam of Hyderabad Tiara
7. The Belgian Scroll Tiara, with a brooch for a center section and a ring from the largest diamond
8. The Snowdon Floral Tiara
9. The Mellerio Floral Tiara, convertible to a necklace and brooches
10. The Khedive of Egypt Tiara, convertible to a dress ornament
11. The Poltimore Tiara, convertible to a necklace and series of brooches
12. The Ocean Tiara, convertible to a necklace and ornaments
13. The Diamond Foam Tiara, convertible to a large or small brooch

These tiaras have a convertible shape, in one way or another:
1. The Nine Provinces Tiara can be used without the biggest diamonds and as just the bandeau.
2. The Niarchos Rubies can be a double or single row tiara, or necklaces of varying lengths.
3. The Württemberg Ornate Pearl Tiara varies shape by using different quantities of pearls on top.
4. Queen Maud's Pearl and Diamond Tiara has a smaller version too.
5. The Malteaser Tiara has four crosses for the top which can be worn in varying quantities and positions (or as brooches). It can also be worn as a bandeau without the crosses.
6. The Antique Pearl Tiara can be worn as a small diamond tiara by removing the pearls.
7. Queen Margherita's Musy Tiara has no fewer than 8 or 9 potential versions.
8. The Stuart Tiara has a lower setting.
9. The late Rundell Tiara can be used with scrolls only, or with stars.
10. The Pearl Button Tiara can be used with diamond stars instead of the buttons.
11. The Delhi Durbar Tiara, in Queen Mary's time, could include various Cullinan diamonds and a top row of emeralds.
12. Sibilla's Art Deco Tiara has a small version.

These tiaras can change colors/stones, and sometimes more:
1. The Grand Duchess Vladimir Tiara can have pearls, emeralds, or no pendants.
2. The Gloucester Honeysuckle Tiara has multiple center options: diamond, pink topaz, and emerald. In Queen Mary's day, she also used the Cullinan V Brooch and a sapphire brooch.
3. The Savoy Pink Tourmaline Tiara, originally interchangeable with garnets.
4. Queen Fabiola's Spanish Wedding Gift Tiara has aquamarine, green, and red stone options and has two tiara forms plus a necklace form.
5. The Ogilvy Tiara can be pearl, turquoise, or sapphire.
6. The Dutch Emerald Tiara can be modified to a pearl tiara.

More of the same:
1. Mary's Wedding Tiara has added pearls, and the diamond version can be used as a necklace.
2. Queen Emma's Diamond Tiara can be used with rubies.
3. The Modern Gold Tiara has a centerpiece that can be swapped for topaz or tourmaline in addition to diamonds.
4. The Strathmore Rose Tiara has (or had) a sapphire option (that to my knowledge hasn't been seen), and can break into brooches.
5. Princess Benedikte's Floral Tiara has a diamond, pearl, or emerald center, and three separate brooch pieces.
6. Queen Victoria Eugenia's Aquamarine Tiara can be worn without the aquamarines.

There you go. Remember, you can vote for tiaras not shown here, so don't fret if I've left your favorite out.

Ready to vote for your favorite?
-Vote for one tiara in the comments. (If you're mentioning multiple tiaras in your comment, indicate which one gets your vote, or I will just count the first applicable one. One comment vote per person, please.)
-I will also count the number of "likes" or up arrows on those comments, so you can vote that way too.
-Non-royal tiaras and tiaras that no longer exist are fair game too.

UPDATE: Thanks for your contributions, voting is now closed!

Photos: Corbis/Getty Images/Scanpix/Geoffrey Munn/Kongehuset/Malaysian Monarchy/Cartier/Palais Princier/Van Cleef & Arpels/Gahetna/Marianne Dulong/People

15 August 2013

Tiara Thursday: Princess Benedikte's Floral Tiara

I thought this one might have a good showing in a floral tiara competition, but it didn’t prove to be so popular. Perhaps that’s because it isn’t quite so well known, so let’s have a closer look and see what you think:
Princess Benedikte's Floral Tiara
The three daughters of King Frederik IX and Queen Ingrid of Denmark each received a tiara for her 18th birthday: the Alexandrine Drop Tiara for Margrethe, this floral tiara for Benedikte, and the Antique Corsage Tiara for Anne-Marie. Benedikte's present is made of diamonds set in gold and silver, and the center stone can be swapped between an emerald (shown above), a pearl, and a diamond.
Princess Benedikte
Like the tiara given to Anne-Marie, Queen Ingrid reused a piece already in her jewel box to create this gift. In this case, a floral brooch that previously belonged to her mother-in-law, Queen Alexandrine, was adapted to take center stage in the tiara. The tiara today breaks into three separate pieces for use as brooches.
Princesses Alexandra (left) and Nathalie (right)
Benedikte still wears the tiara today, and when the large Danish family gatherings call for tiaras, she shares it with her two daughters, Princesses Alexandra and Nathalie of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg (of the two, it seems to be a particular favorite with Alexandra). All combined, it gets a fair amount of outings.
Pearl and diamond versions
As floral tiaras go, I’ve always thought this one was quite a lovely little design. Changing only one stone doesn’t make a huge difference, but it’s always nice to have options.

How do you rate this as a floral tiara?
(And…which sister got the better birthday present?)

Photos: Bodilbinner/Getty Images/AOP/Aitor

14 August 2013

Wedding Wednesday: August Brides

August is a little lighter month for royal weddings, and we have a light little selection of late summer gowns for you:

August 25, 2001
Part of your list of favorite gowns, and rightly so.

Prince Pieter-Christiaan of Orange-Nassau and Anita van Eijk
August 25 & 27, 2005
Another of the four sons of Princess Margriet of the Netherlands and Pieter van Vollenhoven.

August 25, 2010
A Greek royal wedding held in Greece, which has become a rarity (Nikolaos' older siblings were both married in London, where the family has lived in exile).

August 25 & 27, 2011
If you're going to have an August royal wedding, you want to have at least part of it on August 25th, I guess?

Prince El Hassan bin Talal and Sarvath Ikramullah
August 28, 1968
The lovely Sarvath and Hassan, often seen among the guests at big royal occasions (due to the fact that Hassan served as the Crown Prince of Jordan for his brother, King Hussein, for many years).

August 29, 1968
If you can't have it on August 25th, then have it in Norway, apparently. (Understandable coincidences, both, but still - I'm easily entertained.)

Who is your favorite August bride? Among these or the many other options out there?

Photos: Kongehuset/Scanpix/Colourpress/Getty Images

13 August 2013

Weekly Royal Fashion Awards: August 4-10, Plus Your Diamond Nature Motif Winner!

Best in Business
Crown Princess Mary

Video: At CIFF
Mary was back in action last week for one of her standard royal engagements: opening the Copenhagen International Fashion Fair. She kept it summery in Signe Bøgelund-Jensen (above), and later in Baum und Pferdgarten.

Best in Vacation/Work
The Spanish Royal Family

Video: The Spanish royals host a dinner
In other flowy clothing news, down in Palma de Mallorca, the Spanish holiday continues on. They even got in a little more family photo call action:

Who was your best dressed last week?

And now it's time for the winner of your latest tiara competition. (By the way, this little game will wrap up by the end of the year - that's why we're not voting on 27 different kinds of floral tiaras separately, or however you'd rather it be done.)

The Floral Aigrette Tiara!
An excellent choice. As Queen Margrethe has shown us time and again, this is an incredibly flexible piece: wear it on the frame, off the frame, with one, two, or three parts. You can even get more of a wreath/leafy feel if you omit the central section. Useful and beautiful, a winning combo.

And your runners up, none of which came anywhere near competing with the winner:
2. The Strathmore Rose Tiara, always a favorite.
3. The Diamond Daisy Tiara, a petite option.
4. The Strawberry Leaf Tiara, another close-but-not-enough try for a Prince Albert design.
5. The Faberge Cyclamen Tiara, something that's always struck me as more of a museum piece, probably because I haven't seen it in use.

And here's the full collection so far:
The Floral Aigrette joins the floral Braganza, the Danish Ruby wreath, the Persian Turquoise laurel wreaths, and the garlands of the Hesse Aquamarine in bringing touches of nature motifs to the party.

Photos: BT/Getty Images/Corbis

News Tidbits: Updates from the Netherlands

We don't usually do news around here, but yesterday was a big news day for the extended Dutch royal family.

First, another wedding is in the works: Prince Jaime of Bourbon-Parma, the son of the late Carlos Hugo, Duke of Parma, and Princess Irene of the Netherlands (and a cousin to King Willem-Alexander), will marry Viktória Cservenyák on October 5th in Apeldoorn.

Not long after that happy announcement, a sadder one came: Prince Friso of Orange-Nassau, son of Princess Beatrix and the late Prince Claus and brother to the King, has died. Friso was trapped in an avalanche last year and has been in a coma ever since. He was 44 years old. He is survived by his wife, Princess Mabel, and their two daughters, Luana and Zaria.

09 August 2013

Readers' Ultimate Tiaras: Pick Your Diamond Nature Motif!

Here's a huge category for you:

Pick your ultimate diamond nature motif (florals, wreaths, etc.) tiara!

Why are we limiting this category to diamonds only? Because it's good to have your bases covered in the most popular tiara material, methinks (plus, nature motifs have been an option in all categories open to other stones). Why are we dumping all nature motifs in one category? Because the many subcategories within tend to overlap each other. About those subcategories:


4. An antique Italian floral tiara, recently auctioned

3. A Bavarian floral tiara, worn by the Hereditary Princess of Liechtenstein on her wedding day
4. A Danish floral tiara once loaned to Carina Axelsson
5. The Small Luxembourg Floral Tiara
6. The Isenburg Floral Tiara, as worn by Princess Sophie on her wedding day

Wreaths and leafy things!
7. An Oak Leaf and Acorn Tiara

3. The Pakenham Honeysuckle Tiara

Ears of wheat, corn, and etc!
1. The Teck Ears of Wheat Tiara
3. The Russian Field Diadem, a replica of a piece from the Romanov collection

And more!

For these examples, I've tried to keep it to things that are quite nature-y. But as you can see in the last grouping, there are plenty more out there that include slight touches of nature among other elements, if that's more your style. Up to you. And though I say it every time, this time it's really true: this is but a small fraction of the options out there.

Ready to vote for your favorite?
-Vote for one tiara in the comments. (If you're mentioning multiple tiaras in your comment, indicate which one gets your vote, or I will just count the first applicable one. One comment vote per person, please.)
-I will also count the number of "likes" or up arrows on those comments, so you can vote that way too.
-Non-royal tiaras and tiaras that no longer exist are fair game too.

Voting is open until Monday!

Photos: Polfoto/Getty Images/Geoffrey Munn/Royal Collection/Kongehuset/AllOverPress/Christie's/PPE/Corbis/Cour grand-ducale