Wednesday, February 6, 2013

British Royal Jewels: The Smaller Aquamarine Tiara

This is one of those tiaras reappearance of which caused quite a lot of surprise: most royal watchers had completely forgotten about it because it was believed to have been broken up decades ago.
The Smaller Aquamarine Tiara
In 1971 the Queen made some changes to the Aquamarine Tiara (made by Gerrards to compliment the Queen’s Brazilian Aquamarine Parure), using stones and parts from an existing smaller aquamarine tiara. Back then and until last year most experts assumed that the Smaller Aquamarine Tiara had been dismantled to create the new piece. And since this tiara hasn't been seen since 1970s, there was absolutely no reason to doubt that. 

And then the Countess of Wessex quashed those neat theories by wearing the Smaller Aquamarine Tiara to the pre-wedding gala of Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume of Luxembourg and Countess Stephanie de Lannoy in October of 2012. 
The Countess of Wessex wearing the tiara in 2012 (left), and the Queen in 1970 (middle and right)
The tiara looks exactly like the one the Queen wore on a visit to Canada in 1970 so there could be no question of a misidentification. Yet than opens more questions than answers it: which tiara was dismantled to create the present Aquamarine Tiara? Why hasn't been this one been seen for so long? Does this piece have anything to do with the Brazilian aquamarines or is it a completely separate piece? And while we are in question mode, why was the Countess of Wessex loaned another Aquamarine Tiara when she already has one? I mean, I love how it looks on Sophie but an all-diamond, emerald, ruby, sapphire – any other stone would have been so much more interesting! 

Personally, I am not sure this aquamarine tiara has anything to do with the Brazilian parure. Its d├ębut was during a visit to Canada so perhaps it has a Canadian origin? To be honest, it doesn't even look like a “proper” tiara in the first place: it’s more like an ornate haircomb or something. Given how tight-lipped the Queen has been about her personal jewellery collection, I doubt we will get any answers but that’s OK: speculations are just as enjoyable.

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