09 May 2015

Saturday Sparkler Special: Queen Mary's Tiaras (Part 1)


If you thought I couldn't write blog posts in May without dedicating a series to Princess May herself, Queen Mary, well, you were right! For the rest of the month, our Saturday Sparkler posts are going to be devoted to a series of specials on Queen Mary's massive tiara collection. We'll have four posts in total, so if your favorite isn't featured in this week's special, stay tuned for next week -- it might be there!

This week, we're kicking off the series with a look at some of Queen Mary's all-diamond tiaras. Let me know which one is your favorite in the comments below!



Queen Mary's Fringe Tiara

Current Owner: Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom
Original Owner: Queen Mary of the United Kingdom
Maker: E. Wolff and Co. for Garrard, 1919

Made of gold, silver, and diamonds recycled from a tiara she received from Queen Victoria, Queen Mary's Fringe Tiara is a classic and elegant example of the fringe design. In 1936, Mary gave it to her daughter-in-law, the Queen Mum, who then lent it to two famous royal brides: her daughter, Queen Elizabeth II, and her granddaughter, Princess Anne. (Read a post all about this tiara here!)




Queen Mary wears Queen Adelaide's Fringe Tiara, ca. 1913 [source]

Queen Adelaide's Fringe Tiara

Current Owner: Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom
Original Owner: Queen Adelaide of the United Kingdom
Maker: Rundell, Bridge, and Co., 1831

Originally a convertible necklace, this piece was made for Queen Adelaide using diamonds that had been taken from insignia worn by her parents-in-law, King George III and Queen Charlotte. Queen Victoria wore it as a tiara, and so did Queen Mary, as you can see in the photograph above. (Queen Alexandra, with her usual flair, wore it essentially as a belt on her coronation gown.) After Queen Mary passed it along to the Queen Mum, it was transformed into a necklace once more, and that's how it remains today. (Read more about this tiara, and why the Brits don't have many of Queen Charlotte's diamonds, over here!)



Queen Alexandra's Kokoshnik

Current Owner: Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom
Original Owner: Queen Alexandra of the United Kingdom
Maker: Garrard, 1888

Given as a silver wedding present for Queen Alexandra by a committee of aristocratic ladies, the tiara was made to mimic the Russian kokoshnik tiaras popular at the court of Alexandra's sister, Empress Marie Feodorovna. Alexandra wore the tiara at Queen Mary's wedding, and then bequeathed it to her in 1925. She passed it along to her granddaughter, Elizabeth II, a quarter century later. (Read a detailed timeline of the tiara's ownership here -- and read gossipy drama about its creation over here!)



The Iveagh Tiara

Current Owner: The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester
Original Owner: Queen Mary of the United Kingdom
Maker: Unknown, ca. 1893

This lovely kokoshnik-style tiara was given to Queen Mary as a wedding present by Lord and Lady Iveagh in 1893. It's one of the only pieces of wedding-gift jewelry that she never significantly altered -- with its beautiful, balanced shape, she didn't really need to. Mary bequeathed the tiara to her daughter-in-law, Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester. Today, it's still worn by Alice's daughter-in-law, Birgitte, and it was also a wedding tiara for Alice's granddaughter, Lady Rose Gilman. (Read more about this tiara here!)



Queen Mary's Diamond Bandeau

Current Owner: The Duke and Duchess of Kent
Original Owner: Queen Mary of the United Kingdom
Maker: Garrard, ca. 1925

Queen Mary bought this small diamond bandeau from Garrard in 1925, and she used it for a time with emerald toppers from the Cambridge emerald cache. After her death, the tiara was inherited by her daughter-in-law, Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent. It's been worn by several of the Kent ladies, including Princess Alexandra; it was also the present Duchess of Kent's wedding tiara. Some believe this tiara was partly dismantled to create the small pearl and diamond fringe tiara in the Kent collection.


Love these Saturday Sparkler Special posts? Here are a few more to enjoy!