Some tiaras inspire very specific reactions—either you love them, or you hate them. Queen Sofia’s Tiara, aka the “Nine-Prong Tiara,” is definitely one of those sparklers. Whether you can’t stand its spiky profile or love it for its exuberant, unusual style, close-ups of the tiara show that its was constructed in a way that sets it apart from other jewels.
As the tiara’s name suggests, it was made for Queen Sofia of Sweden and Norway (born Princess Sophia of Nassau) around 1860. It has been in Sweden’s royal vaults ever since, and its subsequent wearers included Queen Louise, Princess Lilian, and Princess Birgitta. Today, the tiara is worn almost exclusively by Queen Silvia, who dons it often for gala events, including the annual Nobel Prize ceremony and banquet in Stockholm. You can read a more complete history of the tiara over here!
The tiara features a combination of sharp and soft design elements. Diamond scrolls curl around large diamonds along the tiara’s base, culminating in the center in an explosion of sunburst-like rays.
Here’s a closer look at the central element of the tiara, including the bright, collet-set diamond that sits near the wearer’s head. The combination of the scrolls and sunburst almost make the tiara resemble a sunrise hovering over the sea — not a bad choice for a queen that lives in Stockholm, a city dominated by waterways.
This sunrise-and-sea design is surmounted by a series of diamond swags or festoons, each of which is topped by a collet set diamond. Each of these large diamonds (which appear to be cushion-cut stones) has three smaller diamonds radiating outward, creating the “prong” designs that are the tiara’s visual signature to so many.
The collets with their radiant brilliants almost look like stars when viewed from certain angles. Perhaps, then, we have the curtain of night drawing back from the dawn, completing the sunrise visual of this sparkler?