24 November 2014

The Bäumer Aigrette Tiara

Although much of the Monegasque princely jewels we're looking at this month are from the collections of Princess Charlotte, Princess Grace, and Princess Caroline, the current Princess of Monaco does have a few pieces of significant jewelry at her disposal. Today, let's chat about the diamond headpiece she wore to her wedding dinner: the Bäumer Aigrette.

Charlene wearing the tiara during a jeweler's fitting (source)

The tiara was made by Lorenz Bäumer in 2011 as a wedding present for the princess from her new husband. (An "aigrette" is a headpiece that resembles feathers; sometimes it's also used to refer to a piece that includes a feather-like spray of gems, like this tiara.) The piece features eleven long, thin stems of diamonds set in white gold with a larger pear-shaped diamond at each tip, forming that characteristic spray that cascades across the wearer’s hair. Some have called this piece the “diamond foam” tiara because of its resemblance to the spray of water droplets that accompany cresting waves.

The water imagery fits Charlene well because she is a swimmer; it also coordinates nicely with Monaco’s role as a maritime principality — and with Charlene’s other sparkler, the Ocean Tiara, too. (Actually, all of the jewelry that Charlene received from her husband on their wedding has a water theme.) The aigrette is a versatile piece; it can also be detached from its frame and worn as a hairpiece or a brooch.

The aigrette has been worn by Charlene in public on precisely one occasion: the reception that followed her wedding to Prince Albert II of Monaco in the summer of 2011. Video footage of Charlene trying on the tiara during its creation process had been released beforehand, and many tiara watchers were surprised that Charlene apparently chose to wear the tiara differently at her wedding than it was intended to be worn.

Rather than wearing the aigrette on its frame, it appears that Charlene chose to detach it and wear it as a separate hair ornament instead. Because she nestled it in her hairstyle rather than arcing it towards her forehead, unfortunately the diamonds seemed to lose some of their impact. Ultimately, though, it’s Charlene’s tiara — perhaps she had very good reasons for choosing to wear it the way she did?

I’ll admit that Charlene’s other tiara doesn’t appear to be the easiest sparkler to wear. But I am rather flabbergasted that she hasn’t chosen this piece to wear at the white-tie events where she’s totally eschewed a tiara, like the wedding of Princess Madeleine of Sweden. The aigrette looks to be lightweight and would coordinate well with many different gowns — I can only hope that we see her in it again sometime in the future!