08 November 2014

Saturday Sparkler: The Luxembourg Chaumet Choker Tiara

If you ask me, one of the best things a tiara can be is versatile. A piece that can be worn in multiple configurations automatically increases its value to the wearer significantly, allowing it to be used in different ways for different occasions. Today’s tiara is just such a piece: the convertible pearl and diamond necklace/tiara, is worn by the country’s current grand duchess, Maria Teresa.

Grand Duchess Maria Teresa wears the tiara, 2003

The sparkler, which is easily recognizable for its intricate and unique latticework pattern of diamonds, was made by Chaumet during the reign of Grand Duchess Charlotte of Luxembourg. A model of the tiara is on display at Chaumet in Paris; it's easily visible in the photo of the Chaumet models featured in Diana Scarisbrick's Tiara (2000). The main wearer of the piece is Grand Duchess Maria Teresa, although the tiara has also been worn (years ago) by one of her sisters-in-law, Princess Margaretha.

Grand Duchess Maria Teresa wears the tiara, 2001

Maria Teresa wears a double row of gems atop the diamond choker when she dons the piece in tiara form — a row of round diamonds situated atop the choker, and a row of larger pearls mounted a level higher. (The ladies over at Luxarazzi note that the piece was originally made to be topped with sapphires, not pearls.) It can also be worn without any of the topper stones at all.

Maria Teresa wears the piece as a necklace, 2008

The grand duchess also sometimes wears the choker stacked with other necklaces, including a diamond collet necklace (see the photo above). Though the piece is worn quite close to the neck when it is used as a necklace (as most chokers are), the piece is opened when it is placed on a tiara frame, making it seem much more substantial than it would if it were worn as a closed circlet.

Maria Teresa wears the tiara at Guillaume's pre-wedding dinner, 2012

In recent years, Maria Teresa has reserved the choker tiara for her personal use. She's worn it at state visits, birthday galas, and even the dinner held the night before the wedding of her eldest son, Guillaume. But with the new hereditary grand duchess slowly making a tiara tour of the family vaults, surely it’s only a matter of time before we see it atop another Nassau noggin!