Our journey through the tiara collection of Empress Michiko of Japan continues today with a look at a piece that has important symbolism: the Imperial Chrysanthemum Tiara.
In November 2005, Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko of Japan hosted King Mohammed VI of Morocco for a state banquet at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo.
The visiting monarch and the imperial couple received numerous guests ahead of the banquet, including the then-Prime Minister of Japan, Junichiro Koizumi.
During the white-tie banquet, the royals wore orders and decorations with their gala attire. Emperor Akihito wore the grand collar of the Order of Mohammed, the highest order of Moroccan chivarly, and the star of the Order of the Chrysanthemum. King Mohammed wore the insignia of the Order of the Chrysanthemum, and Empress Michiko wore the insignia of the Order of the Precious Crown.
For the banquet, Michiko paired a green and black evening gown with diamond and emerald jewels. By the 2000s, Empress Michiko had largely stopped wearing the grand Meiji Tiara, preferring smaller and presumably lighter diadems instead. She has suffered for many years with health problems related to her head and neck, and as the Meiji is almost certainly set in heavy nineteenth-century metals like silver and gold, it was probably more difficult to wear than some of the newer tiaras in the vaults. She brought out one of these lighter jewels, the Imperial Chrysanthemum Tiara, for the Moroccan banquet.
This side view offers an excellent angle of the side of the tiara, showing that the chrysanthemum design motif continues throughout the entire jewel. Michiko paired the tiara with diamond earrings and a diamond necklace with a diamond pendant stone.
We’re accustomed to seeing the women of the imperial family wear jewelry set primarily with diamonds and pearls, but this was a fairly rare occasion when Michiko added colored stones to her gala ensemble. She wore a lovely Art Deco-style diamond brooch with an emerald center stone and an emerald pendant drop, as well as an emerald and diamond bracelet. The color of the gems coordinated nicely with the skirt of her gown. There’s also a small green pin or embellishment near the neckline of the dress. This doesn’t appear to be any sort of jewel or chivalric decoration, so I’d theorize that it might have been part of the gown itself.