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The Duchess of Angouleme's emerald-and-diamond tiara, made in 1820 and currently in the Louvre Tiaraang.png
The Duchess of Angoulême's emerald-and-diamond tiara, made in 1820 and currently in the Louvre
A pearl-and-emerald tiara of Northern and Southern dynasties (420-589) Nan Bei Zhao Zhu Cui Guan .jpg
A pearl-and-emerald tiara of Northern and Southern dynasties (420–589)

A tiara (from Latin : tiara, from Ancient Greek : τιάρα) is a jeweled, ornamental crown traditionally worn by women. It is worn during formal occasions, particularly if the dress code is white tie. [2]



This Fayum mummy portrait shows a woman wearing a golden wreath, c. AD 100-110. Fayum-39.jpg
This Fayum mummy portrait shows a woman wearing a golden wreath, c. AD 100–110.

Today, the word "tiara" is often used interchangeably with the word "diadem", and tiara is often translated to a word similar to diadem in other languages. [3] Both words come from head ornaments worn by ancient men and women to denote high status. As Geoffrey Munn notes, "The word 'tiara' is actually Persian in origin—the name first denoted the high-peaked head-dresses of Persian kings, which were encircled by 'diadems' (bands of purple and white decoration). Now, it is used to describe almost every form of decorative head ornament." [4] Ancient Greeks and Romans used gold to make wreath-shaped head ornaments, while the Scythians' resembled a stiff halo that would serve as the inspiration for later Russian kokoshniks. The use of tiaras and diadems declined along with the decline of the Roman Empire and the rise of Christianity. [4]

Late 18th century-present

Stephanie de Beauharnais, Grand Duchess of Baden's pearl-and-diamond tiara, made circa 1830 and currently in the museum at Mannheim Palace Diadem of Stephanie de Beauharnais.jpg
Stéphanie de Beauharnais, Grand Duchess of Baden's pearl-and-diamond tiara, made circa 1830 and currently in the museum at Mannheim Palace

In the late 18th century, Neoclassicism gave rise to a revival of tiaras, but this time it was a solely female adornment. Jewelers taking inspiration from Ancient Greece and Rome created new wreaths made from precious gemstones. [5] Napoleon and his wife Joséphine de Beauharnais are credited with popularizing tiaras along with the new Empire style. Napoleon wanted the French court to be the grandest in Europe and had given his wife many parures which included tiaras.

Queen Elizabeth II is said to have the largest and most valuable collection of tiaras in the world, many of which are heirlooms of the British royal family. She is often seen wearing them on state occasions. The Queen inherited many of them, especially from Queen Alexandra. Queen Mary purchased the Grand Duchess Vladimir tiara in the 1920s. It consists of numerous interlocking diamond circles. Pearl drops can be attached inside the circles or emeralds. Queen Mary had a tiara made for the Delhi Durbar held in 1911 in India. It is now on loan for wearing by the Duchess of Cornwall, wife of Charles, Prince of Wales. Queen Elizabeth II commissioned a ruby and diamond tiara. A gift of aquamarines she received as a present from the people of Brazil were added to diamonds to make a new tiara. [6]

Other queens, empresses, and princesses regularly wear tiaras at formal evening occasions. The Swedish Royal Family have a collection as do the Danish, the Dutch, and Spanish monarchies. Many of the Danish royal jewels originally came into the collection when Princess Louise of Sweden married the future King Frederick VIII of Denmark. The Romanov dynasty had a collection up until the revolution of 1917. The Iranian royal family also had a large collection of tiaras. Since the Iranian Revolution, they are housed at the National Jewelry Museum in Tehran.

Although usually associated with women of reigning and noble families, tiaras have been worn by commoners as well, especially rich American socialites like Barbara Hutton. Tiaras are generally a semi-circular or circular band, usually of precious metal, decorated with jewels and are worn as a form of adornment. (On rare occasions, usually when the actual tiara is exceptionally old and valuable due to its history, gemstones and previous ownership, realistic copies may be made and worn in place of the original due to insurance considerations.) Tiaras are worn by women around their head or on the forehead as a circlet on very formal or high social occasions. Tiaras are frequently used to "crown" the winners of beauty pageants.

During the Victorian Age in the United States, tiaras were being seen on non-royal ladies of means.

“In Paris great aigrette balls were organized by aristocrate families who were proud of their name and their past, such as Dutcesse de Gramount with her ‘Crinoline Ball’ and Princess Jacques de Broglie with her ‘Gemstone Ball’ of 1914. In distant New York, Philadelphia an Newport on the other hand, Mrs. William Astor, Mrs. George J. Gould, Mrs. W.K. Vanderbilt and Eva (Mrs. Edward) Stotesbury entertained with a degree of magnificence which made European balls appear almost insignificant. The moneyed classes of the United States, who had originally raised themselves above their bourgeois origins through their own hard work, set out to rival the historical aristocracy of Europe. In friendly competition with her rivals, the well-to-do American women refused to forgo any of the attributes sanctioned by society. These accessories included country houses imported from Europe complete with ancestral portraits and furnishings, as well as tiaras order from Cartier’s in Paris and later New York.” – Cartier By Hans Nadelhoffer

By the 1920s, the tiara and similar tiara headbands became popular in the United States. They were worn not only with formal ballroom gowns, but became popular with the flappers and their parties.

"The 1920s was a period when milliners used their imagination to embrace aspects of dress from nations far and wide. Inspiration was sought from Egypt, China, Japan and Russia. Headdresses including turbans, toques, kokoshniks and tiaras were all reinvented by designers." [7]

Costume jewellery tiaras

Tiaras made of plastic, rhinestones, Swarovski crystals, or any other non-precious material are considered costume jewelry. They are worn by women on special occasions such as homecoming or prom and at their quinceañera (fifteenth birthday) or wedding. They are also worn by the winners of beauty pageants and girls dressing up as Disney princesses.

Stage and screen

Tiaras are often worn by actresses in film, plays, and television. In 2013, Cartier created a replica of the ruby and diamond tiara they had originally made in 1956 for Princess Grace of Monaco for the film Grace of Monaco , starring Nicole Kidman. [8]

See also

Related Research Articles

Crown jewels

Crown jewels are the objects of metalwork and jewellery in the regalia of a current or former monarchy. They are often used for the coronation of a monarch and a few other ceremonial occasions. A monarch may often be shown wearing them in portraits, as they symbolize the power and continuity of the monarchy. Additions to them may be made, but since medieval times the existing items are typically passed down unchanged as they symbolize the continuity of the monarchy.

Crown Form of headwear, symbolizing the power of a ruler

A crown is a traditional form of head adornment, or hat, worn by monarchs as a symbol of their power and dignity. A crown is often, by extension, a symbol of the monarch's government or items endorsed by it. The word itself is used, particularly in Commonwealth countries, as an abstract name for the monarchy itself, as distinct from the individual who inhabits it. A specific type of crown is employed in heraldry under strict rules. Indeed, some monarchies never had a physical crown, just a heraldic representation, as in the constitutional kingdom of Belgium, where no coronation ever took place; the royal installation is done by a solemn oath in parliament, wearing a military uniform: the King is not acknowledged as by divine right, but assumes the only hereditary public office in the service of the law; so he in turn will swear in all members of "his" federal government.

French Crown Jewels

The French Crown Jewels comprise the crowns, orb, sceptres, diadems and jewels that were symbols of Royal power between 752 and 1825. These were worn by many Kings and Queens of France. The set was finally broken up, with most of it sold off in 1885 by the Third French Republic. The surviving French Crown Jewels, principally a set of historic crowns, diadems and parures, are mainly on display in the Galerie d'Apollon of the Louvre, France's premier museum and former royal palace, together with the Regent Diamond, the Sancy Diamond and the 105-carat (21.0 g) Côte-de-Bretagne red spinel, carved into the form of a dragon. In addition, some gemstones and jewels are on display in the Treasury vault of the Mineralogy gallery in the National Museum of Natural History.

Diadem Ornamental headband worn by monarchs and others as a badge of royalty

A diadem is a type of crown, specifically an ornamental headband worn by monarchs and others as a badge of royalty.

Danish Crown Regalia

Danish Crown Regalia are the symbols of the Danish monarchy. They consist of three crowns, a Sceptre, Globus cruciger, the Sword of state and an Ampulla . The Danish Royal Regalia are kept in the treasury at Rosenborg Castle. The oldest of these is Christian III's sword of state from 1551. They further include King Christian IV's diamond; pearl- and gold-embroidered saddles; objects carved from ivory and rock-crystal; lapidary pieces of precious stones, and brooches in the form of fantastic animals.

State Crown of George I Crown of King George I

The State Crown of George I is the imperial and state crown manufactured in 1714 for King George I. It was modified and used by subsequent monarchs until 1838. The empty gold frame and its aquamarine monde which dates from the reign of King James II are both part of the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom. They are on public display in the Martin Tower at the Tower of London.

Iranian National Jewels Collection of crown jewels

The Iranian National Jewels, originally the Iranian Crown Jewels, include elaborate crowns, thirty tiaras, and numerous aigrettes, a dozen bejeweled swords and shields, a number of unset precious gems, numerous plates and other dining services cast in precious metals and encrusted with gems, and several other more unusual items collected or worn by the Persian monarchs from the 16th century and on. The collection is housed at The Treasury of National Jewels, situated inside the Central Bank of Iran on Tehran's Ferdowsi Avenue.

Small Diamond Crown of Queen Victoria

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Kokoshnik Traditional Russian headdress worn by women

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Regalia of Spain Coat of arms

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Regalia of Sweden

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Margaret Greville

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Crown Jewels of Württemberg

The Crown Jewels of Württemberg are a historical jewel collection belonging to the Kings and Queens of Württemberg.

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Crown Jewels of the Netherlands

Sometimes jewellery used by the Dutch royal family are dubbed "crown jewels". In the past, the terms "House-diamonds", "House-jewels" and "family jewels" have been used. In 1790 the term "Bijoux de la Couronne" was used by Luise of Brunswick -Wolfenbüttel to refer to a large diamond from Borneo. In 1896 the Firm of van Kempen & Begeer wrote about resetting the jewels of the Crown. Queen Juliana gave a selection of her formal jewelry to the new Foundation Regalia of the House of Orange-Nassau, instituted on 27 July 1963. In 1968 a Foundation "Kroongoederen van het Huis van Oranje-Nassau" was instituted. It owns the regalia and the House-jewels.

Jewels of Diana, Princess of Wales Wikimedia list article

Diana, Princess of Wales, was the first wife of Charles, Prince of Wales, and the mother of Prince William and Prince Harry. She owned a collection of jewels–both as a member of the British royal family and as a private individual. They were separate from the coronation and state regalia of the Crown Jewels.

Wedding dress of Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark

The wedding dress of Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark was worn at her wedding to Prince George, Duke of Kent on 29 November 1934. The couple was married first in an Anglican ceremony at Westminster Abbey, followed by a private Greek Orthodox ceremony at Buckingham Palace. Princess Marina was the youngest daughter of Prince and Princess Nicholas of Greece and Denmark. Prince George was the fourth son of King George V and Queen Mary.


  1. Eldest and only surviving daughter of Louis XVI of France and Marie Antoinette
  2. "Royal Splendor 101: Tiara Rules". The Royal Order of Sartorial Splendor. 10 October 2011. Archived from the original on 23 September 2015.
  3. "Royal Splendor 101: Tiara Terminology". The Royal Order of Sartorial Splendor. 5 December 2011. Archived from the original on 23 September 2015.
  4. 1 2 Munn, Geoffrey (2002). Tiaras: Past and Present. 160 Brompton Road, London: V&A Publications. ISBN   0-8109-6594-1.CS1 maint: location (link)
  5. Munn, Geoffrey (2001). Tiaras: A History of Splendor. England: Antique Collectors' Club Ltd. ISBN   1851493751.
  6. "Aquamarine and diamond tiara". Archived from the original on June 30, 2009. Retrieved May 17, 2010.
  7. Thomas, Pauline. "Fashion History Costume Trends and Eras, Trends Victorians - Haute Couture". www.fashion-era.com. Archived from the original on 2015-07-05.
  8. Sowray, Bibby (16 May 2013). "Cartier recreate Grace Kelly's jewels for Nicole Kidman film Grace of Monaco". Telegraph. Retrieved 21 September 2015.[ permanent dead link ]