TALLULAH RUSHAYA INVESTIGATES THE TIARA REVIVAL, AND THE DESIGNS TURNING HEADS AS THE CORONATION DRAWS NEARER
For royalty, the tiara has endured for centuries. And far from being confined to the jewellery box of history, tiaras are still having their moment. This month, heads will be adorned with twinkling diamonds under the lights of Westminster Abbey at the coronation of King Charles III, and at state banquets.
Among non-royals, the tiara maintains its status at society occasions and weddings – receiving a boost from appearances in Downton Abbey, Bridgerton and The Crown. Mayfair jeweller Hancocks London currently has its Anglesey tiara (c1890) on display, which was present for two coronations.
Managing director Guy Burton has noticed an increase in requests for tiaras from a similar period in their collection. ‘‘Floral styles are popular, and tiaras that convert to a necklace – as well as being a tiara – will always have added appeal for their versatility.’’ Burton notes there is still demand for historic pieces, the stories that surround them and examples of unrivalled craftsmanship.
‘Bobby’ Leigh-Pemberton, jewellery dealer at Humphrey Butler, has credited shows such as Downton Abbey for the tiara’s prominence. ‘‘When we think ‘tiara’ it can tend to be that the first thing that comes into one’s head is a great big Victorian, Queen Mary-style kokoshnik,’’ he says.
‘‘Examples from the early 1900s, 20s and 30s have always been more popular by virtue of their subtler look. In this period the big French houses, Cartier and Boucheron, were making their finest examples, which have always been extremely sought after, and its pieces of this style that are particularly sought after again now.’’
Many esteemed maisons, from Chaumet and Boodles to Bentley & Skinner and Cassandra Goad, are creating new pieces to meet this demand. Royal Arcade jeweller Calleija has created the Eternity tiara. ‘‘Crafted with rubies and white diamonds, it was designed to be passed down the generations,’’ says founder John Calleija. ‘‘It has more than 9.5ct of rubies and 14ct of white diamonds, and is handcrafted in 18kt white, yellow and rose gold.’’