12 May 2018

The Luxembourg Chaumet Choker Tiara

Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxembourg attends a pre-wedding reception for her son, Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume, October 2012 (Guy Wolff/Grand-Ducal Court of Luxembourg via Getty Images)

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 Maria Teresa, the current Grand Duchess of Luxembourg.




Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxembourg and Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano attend a gala performance ahead of the wedding of Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark, May 2004 (CLAUS FISKER/AFP/Getty Images)

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 clearly visible in the photo of the Chaumet models featured in Diana Scarisbrick's Tiara. 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 of Luxembourg and Queen Sonja of Norway attend the 60th birthday celebrations for King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden, April 2006 (AFP/Getty Images)

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 (The ladies over at Luxarazzi note that the piece was originally made to be topped with sapphires, not pearls.)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.


Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxembourg and King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden arrive at a state banquet in Stockholm, April 2008 (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

The grand duchess also sometimes wears the choker version of the piece stacked with other necklaces, including a diamond collet necklace, as she did during the 2008 state visit to Sweden. 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.


Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxembourg arrive at a pre-wedding reception for their son, Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume, October 2012 (Guy Wolff/Grand-Ducal Court of Luxembourg via Getty Images)

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, Hereditary Grand Duke 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!

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