Diadems and Tiaras: How History Became Fashion - Ksenia Gulko, Guest Blogger

Today's guest blogger is Ksenia Gulko from Jewelry Trends and has she got a fabulously bling-filled lesson for us today on one of my favorite pieces of jewelry history - Diadems and Tiaras.  Personally, I wish they were suitable as everyday wear for those of us who aren't of royal birth!  But, in the meantime, let's take a jaunt with Ksenia and see how this royal accessory became suitable for "norms" like us.

Since ancient times, diadems and tiaras were a symbol of royal power.  But have since turned into a piece of jewelry intended for special occasions such a wedding, prom evening, beauty pageant or other formal occasion.

But what's the difference between a "tiara" and a "diadem?"  Well, a tiara is defined as a semi-circular, bejeweled ornament worn at the front of the head by a lady on a formal occasion while a diadem is a bit more tricky to define.  The word itself is a bit more ancient in use and refers to the ancient markers of status that led to the creation of today's crowns and coronets (think "baby crown" for "coronet.").  A diadem basically refers to the tiara or crown with a bit more gravitas than your average bejeweled headgear.

This magnificent and rare Emerald & Diamond Tiara sold at Sotheby's for $11.3 million (not
including the buyer's premium) in 2011.  But isn't it amazing?!?!

The Most Beautiful Royal Tiaras
Some of the most beautiful royal tiaras of modern times include:

The Emerald Tiara of the Queen of Norway.  It is a real masterpiece!  It was a gift from Napoleon to his first wife, Josephine which is how this stunning piece of jewelry got its name: "Empress Josephine Emerald Tiara."  The tiara was produced by French jewelry house, Bapst.

Queen Sonja of Norway in the Emerald Parure Tiara during her official photographs.

Diamond Tiara worn by Catherine Middleton at her wedding to His Royal Highness Prince William - the most modest tiara, but also the most incredible.  Thanks to the special arrangement and cutting of the diamonds, the tiara creates an amazing optical effect - aura of lights over the head.

Designed by Cartier, the Halo Tiara, is one of the iconic tiaras of modern times.

The Pearl and Diamond Tiara worn by Princess Diana was created by the famous jewelry house, Garrard, for the British Royal Household in 1914.

The Diamond & Pearl Tiara worn by Princess Diana on her wedding day was also one of her favorites.

And, finally, the Wedding Tiara of Queen Leticia created by the German jeweler, Koch, and then donated to Princess Victoria Louise by her father, the last German Emperor Wilhelm II on her own wedding day.

Queen Letizia on her wedding day wearing one of the most stunning tiaras, in my opinion.

The first “changing” jewelry pieces (hence that name "transformers") started to appear in 18th and 19th centuries.  Crown and diadem prices at the times were so high that jewelers with a special bit of cunning created the technology for noble women - tiaras that easily transformed into necklaces.

Transformers give its owner the opportunity to reflect their own sense of style and artistic taste more fully.  The greatest age for such tiaras was 1920s and '30s during the Art Deco period.  The best example of this jewelry is from the “Great Gatsby” movie:

In the most recent adaptation of the book, The Great Gatsby, famed jewelry house, Tiffany & Co. was also
able to re-imagine the famed jewels as well! 

Jewelry has always reflected individual's view of the world.  The ability to create a unique image and convey their own personal style.  Jewelry-transformers are combining bold ideas with practicality, and, even more, a great opportunity to imagine yourself as a designer; creating your own image.

Diadems and Tiaras in a Fashion World
Punk diva Courtney Love managed to turn the tiara from jewelry designed only "for high society" to the grunge spirit.  In 1995, she wore it at the Vanity Fair Academy Award party.  The blonde girl with red lips dressed in satin lingerie and tiara looked like a princess from a post-apocalyptic tale.

Courtney Love & her punk rock tiara.

Today designers are trying to create different types of diadems more suitable for everyday life, (usually such tiaras are small and are worn like hoops, falling down on a forehead) and for grandiose events (they are large and studded with stones) like weddings.  Romantic tiaras from the traditionally grunge collection of the Saint Laurent fashion house were also listed in a Fall must-have list of hair jewelry for 2016.

Let your inner fashionista princess out!

Fashion designers call crowns and tiaras the main trend for Fall 2016, and it remained in the top position for many a season now.  Lots of designers are pleased with the "royal" theme and have so offered original helmets made of pearls and metal in their collections.

Wedding Tiaras and Diadems
Designers usually make wedding tiaras from a variety of materials.  They weave it with beautiful patterns based on gold or silver wire, decorated with sequins, stones, pearls, crystal and/or beads.  Handmade masterpieces can even be created at home.  They can be purely wired or decorated with beads and precious stones.

This beautiful, antique Victorian 20.40 rose-cut Diamond Tiara is perfect for every bride & is
currently available on eBay for only $1,190!

Beaded diadems look especially gentle.  Thin branches, petals and delicate pieces can be complemented with beads and flowers.  They are the most common wedding adornments.  And, because the floral theme has been relevant for many years, this trend can also be seen in diadems.

Stylist’s Advice
According to stylists, during Fall 2016, crowns, tiaras and diadems would be appropriate to wear with an evening dress as well as with jeans or even with a business suit.

Seriously, if I had my own diamond tiara, you bet I'd wear it with everything - including jeans!

In order to make your face look elongated, you need a high tiara - the minimum height of the jewelry elements should not be less than five centimeters.  For an oval face shape, a hoop tiara would make the face look less elongated.  And, for women with an already elongated face shape, stylists recommend smaller tiaras with an equal height along the entire length.

In Conclusion
Tiaras and diadems have come a long way from being just a symbol of power and authority to a fashion accessory that even the those of us a long way from the House of Windsor can enjoy!

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