22 September 2016

The Miller Fringe Tiara

The Miller Fringe Tiara (Photo: Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

The Greek royal family may not have a country to rule anymore, but they still have an impressive jewel collection. However, this diamond fringe tiara is a new addition to the Greek vaults, courtesy one of the more recent additions to the family, Crown Princess Marie-Chantal.

Photo: Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images

For years, there have been rumors that this tiara was a gift from Marie-Chantal’s wealthy family, the Millers. Her father, Robert Warren Miller, is one of the co-founders of the Duty Free Shops, those great purveyors of perfume, booze, and giant Toblerones, so there’s certainly enough money in the Miller coffers for a tiara or two.

Photo: Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

The tiara is a classic diamond fringe in the Russian style. The taller diamond spikes of the tiara are interspersed with shorter pieces that taper to a point, helping to fill out of the piece. The tiara is a large piece, nearly wrapping around the wearer's head, almost forming a circlet. I don't know whether this one can be worn as a necklace, but part of the frame is visible behind the fringe, sort of propping up the individual spikes, which makes me think a necklace conversion may indeed be possible.

Photo: Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images

There are numerous similar diamond fringes still floating around in royal collections, because each Romanov grand duchess received one of these tiaras as a part of her bridal trousseau. That's a lot of fringes to be bequeathed and inherited! (And, unfortunately, sometimes to be sold and auctioned.) The specific provenance of Marie-Chantal's tiara, to my knowledge, has not been made public, but apparently it is an antique piece, not a new creation.

Photo: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Marie-Chantal is the only person who has been photographed wearing this tiara, so most have guessed that the tiara was a gift earmarked specifically for her; however, others (including the writer Vincent Meylan) have suggested that the tiara was actually purchased at auction for Pavlos and Marie-Chantal’s only daughter, Princess Maria-Olympia, by her grandmother, Chantal Miller. Meylan has noted that the gift was bestowed on the baby princess as a christening gift. If that’s the case, Marie-Chantal is really just warming up this lovely fringe tiara for her daughter. As it's tradition in Scandinavian monarchies for princesses to begin wearing tiaras after their eighteenth birthdays -- and Maria-Olympia's great-aunt is Queen Margrethe II of Denmark -- perhaps we’ll get to see it on twenty-year-old Maria-Olympia herself in the near future?


UPDATE: Well, it wasn't exactly the near future, but Maria-Olympia finally wore the tiara in public! She donned the tiara for the 50th birthday gala in honor of her father's first cousin, Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark. (Much more over here!)

Note: This is an updated version of an earlier post, with new text and images.