The Tiara Effect: Princess Accessory

By: Andrew Regan

In modern times tiaras are often seen at weddings, balls and other formal events; but at one time they were the preserve of royalty. Indeed, a tiara is a form of crown which has been worn throughout history by various kings, queens, and emperors around the world, from Persia to Pompeii.

Most historians credit the Egyptians with creating the first tiaras, but since then they have featured in high society circles throughout history; Napoleon Bonaparte is said to have influenced the wearing of tiaras by making them a required accessory at all social functions during his reign, to ensure that others would take note of him and his family's affluence and nobility.

At one time, a tiara could be made of leather or other fabric, but now, a tiara refers to a semi-circular metal band which is often decorated with jewels and worn by women as a decoration rather than a symbol of rank. Queen Elizabeth is famed for her love of tiaras, and is said to have the largest and most valuable collection in the world - many of which have been passed down from other members of the British Royal Family or given to her as a gift by other countries.

Some pieces of the collection have been modified to include new jewels that have been presents to Her Majesty on later occasions; for example the Aquamarine and Diamond Tiara which was first made in 1957 consisted of three upright rectangular stones mounted on a simple platinum band. The large central stone was originally the pendant of the necklace given to The Queen by the president and people of Brazil in 1953 as a Coronation gift. In 1971 the tiara was adapted to take four scroll ornaments from an aquamarine and diamond jewel given to The Queen by the Governor of Sao Paulo in 1968. It's a priceless collection, selected pieces of which are sometimes put on display in London museums.

The popularity of tiaras waned during the mid 20th century but have recently made a revival, and today women wear tiaras for many special occasions such as proms, balls, weddings and beauty pageants. Today's tiaras are easier to wear than the tiaras of days gone by because they are now constructed with lighter materials, and they are available in a wide range of prices, meaning they are no longer the sole preserve of royalty.

Tiaras may have descended from Royal circles, but they now form a fashionable and elegant accessory which can turn any women, into a princess.

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