Emperor Christian Victor I

Emperor Christian Victor I

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Fascinating Fridays (Jewellery Terminology; The Tiara)

I hope everybody had a great week so far? Did you enjoy the wedding of Queen Gloria? I did immensely and enjoyed reporting on it as well. It was also nice to see the reclusive Margravine of Montrose for only the second time since the Prince Imperial's Ball in 2009 and to also welcome Princess Donatella onto the scene. 

For today's post on Royal logistics I have decided to discuss some jewellery terminology. To alleviate the boredom of another "lecture", I will obviously post some dramatic jewellery photography to assist in the understanding of the terminology.

The Tiara.
 This is a bejeweled head ornament alluding to a crown or even a halo. It can be worn far to the front, resting almost directly on the brow or all the way at the back framing done-up hair and anywhere in between. It most often is semi-circular but can encircle the head entirely. In that configuration it is sometimes referred to as a Circlet or Diadem. A Diadem is often higher and reminiscent of a crown where a Circlet is often low and reminiscent of a band. When the tiara's appearance leans strongly to a halo or a monstrance its design is often Ruskian in origin and is referred to as a Kokoshnik. When it lies flat on the head in the way a headband would it is called a Bandeau. Often any small tiara can be called a Bandeau regardless of whether it lies flat on the head or not. Probably the most simple "type" of tiara design is called a Fringe. Fringes have equal, undulating or graduating "spikes" pointing up. Finally we have what is called an Aigrette. These are head ornaments that have a singular decorative feature, like a feather, protruding upward from the head. 

There are also many style and fashion periods that should be recognized to the trained eye. The most common are Franconian Style, Ruskian Style, Medieval Style and Imperial Style. The Franconian Style often looks like Crown with alternating heights and sharp point. The Ruskian Style as already mentioned alludes to a halo. The Medieval Style uses a lot of gold and employs fewer stones in designs that are also often very rudimentary and simple. The Imperial style is firstly a combination of many other styles but the most obvious tip-off is shear size. Another indication of the Imperial style is a prominent center piece at the front of tiara, like a cross or a single elevated point. Let's look at some pictures and things will become quite clear. 

The Franconian Diamond and Pearl Diadem

Queen Gloria has in her private collection, this diadem that is quite high and closes at the back. It also has the long and short pointy design which is typically Franconian. What makes this tiara unique is that it can unfasten at the back becoming flexible which allows it to be worn like a normal tiara or even a bejeweled belt. 

The Youssopoff Diamond Kokoshnik

This is probably the plainest Kokoshnik in existence and clearly shows the halo effect. The halo effect can become more ornate but as long a it frames the head and remains regular it can be strictly judged as a Kokoshnik.

Lady Arcwhite's tiara can be seen as a Kokoshnik-Fringe hybrid employing elements of both. A fringe is almost a Kokoshnik in its simplest form.

The Duchess of Lancaster wearing the historic Lancaster Fringe. Note the similarities and differences between a Fringe and a Kokoshnik. 

Grand Duchess Xenia Alexandrovna wearing her Diamond and Pearl Bandeau. It lies flat on the head. 

Queen Gloria wears a very small Aquamarine tiara and although it stands upright it could be and is indeed named, The Szanguscko Betrothal Bandeau.

The Youssopoff Comet Tiara is strictly speaking an Aigrette. Aigrettes are often of a design that links to the sky or to flight considering that the very word in its etymology is linked to birds-of-prey. 

Now to touch on some styles of design. 

The Franconian Ruby Tiara

 This tiara is very similar in design to the famous Hispanian Ruby Tiara and both are very good examples of the Franconian Style. 

The Londonderry Amethyst Tiara is also of the Franconian Style.

Another typical Kokoshnik in the Ruskian Style is the Youssopoff Sapphire Tiara.

The best example of Medieval Style would be an actual medieval tiara. This one from the Syldavian Crown Jewel Collection is by now probably the most famous.

The Princess of the Blood Tiara from the Scot-Britanian Crown Jewels is a quintessential Imperial tiara. It is of a large scale and includes a symbolic center feature which links it to the Coronets worn by Imperial Princes.

The Imperial Nuptial Ruby Tiara is another large, symbolic tiara with a central front feature.

Very often tiaras can combine several elements of style and type.

The D'Pont du Lac Pearls are set in a crown-like Franconian Style on top of a Kokoshnik type base.

Empress Crystobel's Birthday Tiara employs Fringe and Franconian inspirations.

The Swann Diamond Tiara is clearly a Kokoshnik but the central point gives it an Imperial feel.

Enjoy your tiara viewing and hope it becomes a far deeper experience of appreciation. Please remember, your comments are valued and enjoyed.


  1. Hi Daniel
    Yes, I enjoy the wedding of Queen Gloria!! I didn't know these things about tiaras, thank you so much for sharing these info with us.
    Have a nice weekend :)

    1. My pleasure Sergio. Please remember that even though the information on this blog is closely based on real facts, I also take poetic licence for the sake of the fictional doll universe. I am very well read on the topic of real jewellery, Crown Jewels and the history so I can make things up to fit my stories quite easily. But as far as general info goes you can just accept my interpretation. I started a new blog that focusses on real crowns and will eventually go into tiaras etc so have a look there for the real thing as it develops. daniel-s-crowns.blogspot.com

  2. Hello from Spain: the wedding of the queen was majestic. As a wedding in which we see in magazines. I like the tiara of Queen Gloria. In the picture looks very pretty and elegant. The tiara, headband Arcwhite is also very beautiful. Congratulations for all these creations. You do gorgeous work. How do you get the small sizestones and beads?? The Ruby Tiara is also very nice. I like them all. Keep in touch.

    1. Hi Martha. Thank you for the compliment. I love making the jewellery and there is still tons more to see. I use 3mm round beads and small glass rhinestones ranging from 1.5mm to 5mm. I just buy these things at bead shops and haberdasheries but they can be difficult to find so I almost "collect" them over time.

  3. I loved this article about tiaras Daniel! Sooo interesting... it just shows us that there is so much out there that we don't know about, and that we just take for granted ;-)!

    Thanks Daniel for opening our eyes to all things magical!