As we know, the royal family has many tiaras to choose from, and it’s in fact tradition for most royal brides to wear them (though this royal broke the rules on her big day). The Queen is even said to have a favourite tiara.
But which ones are the most spectacular? We asked Grant Mobley, gemologist and royal jewellery commentator to talk us through the list.
Queen Mary’s Diamond Bandeau Tiara
This beautiful tiara was catapulted into the limelight two years ago when Meghan Markle wore it down the aisle to wed Prince Harry. It is an art deco style headpiece, which originally belonged to the Queen’s grandmother. It’s made of natural diamonds set in platinum, and is formed as a flexible band of 11 sections with interlaced ovals. It features both large and small natural diamonds, and the centre stone is a detachable brooch with a large diamond at the centre, surrounded by nine smaller brilliant-cut diamonds.
Lotus Flower Tiara
This art deco inspired headpiece is certainly considered one of the trendier designs in today’s era. Although this tiara was originally made for the Queen Mother in 1923 by the House of Garrard, it is quite modern in its design as it can be worn low on the forehead or high on the head similar to tiaras made today. It is made with all-round white diamonds in bezel settings and a few white pearls.
The beautiful diamonds allow the lotus flower shapes to serve as the main feature. In order to make this gorgeous design, the Queen Mother asked Garrard to dismantle a necklace she was given as a wedding gift so that the diamonds and pearls could be used to craft this timeless beauty. This is a true testament to the versatility of natural diamonds, which is one of the great attributes of natural diamonds. Thanks to their versatility durability and resilience, they can be reused and upcycled to create new pieces of jewellery throughout the generations.
Cartier Halo Tiara (also known as the Cartier Scroll Tiara)
Like most royal tiaras, this piece is a family heirloom rich in history. The Queen’s father, King George VI had this elegant headpiece designed by Cartier for his wife, the Queen Mother, back in 1936. Shortly after the Queen Mother gifted it to her daughter Queen Elizabeth II on her 18th birthday in 1944.
It is made of 16 diamond scrolls, hence why it’s sometimes called the ‘Cartier Scroll Tiara, and it is set with 739 brilliant-cut and 149 baton-shaped diamonds. Out of all the beautiful tiaras in the Royal family’s jewellery vault, this is the one that Kate Middleton chose to wear on her wedding day to Prince William.
Historical pieces of jewellery made from natural diamonds show their age gracefully, and I believe this tiara does that more than most. One of the great things about natural diamonds is their ability to stand the test of time and transcend generations, and the British Monarchy has known this for a long time. For centuries, they have understood the everlasting value of natural diamond jewellery. They appreciate their timeless, heirloom-quality, and are well-known for passing their jewels down from one generation to the next.
Cambridge Lover’s Knot Tiara
This tiara is not actually an original, which is rather unique for the royal family as many of their tiaras data back decades, if not centuries. Instead, this stunning piece is a replica of an earlier tiara made for Queen Mary’s grandmother – Princess Augusta of Hesse, the Duchess of Cambridge. The exquisite piece was commissioned from the House of Garrard by Queen Mary in 1914.
Almost seven decades later, in 1981, the original headpiece was sold at auction at Christie’s in Geneva. The design of the Cambridge Lover’s Knot tiara is distinctive. It is made from over 100 carats of amazing white natural diamonds and features 38 pearls. This particular tiara was a favourite of the late Princess Diana, making it one of the most iconic tiaras she wore.
Strathmore Rose Tiara
This is fairly modest compared to many royal tiaras, but in my opinion, it is one of the most elegant. This piece dates back to the 19th century and hasn’t been worn in public in decades. It features a garland of five roses, and the roses are set with spectacular large natural rose cut diamonds. The soft radiance of the diamonds have a boho-like elegance. Rose-cut diamonds are very unique to the time period in which this headpiece was made – this cut has not been done since the early 20th century.
One thing that all these gorgeous tiaras have in common is that they all feature natural diamonds, which isn’t much of a surprise as a natural diamond is the one gemstone that is guaranteed to age gracefully. As cliché as it may sound, diamonds do last forever while maintaining their beauty and value – in fact, natural diamond pieces generally increase in value over time due to their scarcity as a natural resource. They have a timeless quality about them, and they are always on-trend, which is one of the reasons diamond pieces of jewellery have always been so popular among the royals.
This tiara has only ever been seen on the Queen Mother.