A Diamond and Feather Aigrette

© Sotheby’s

Today’s bejeweled headpiece is an aigrette. An aigrette is a less formal tiara consisting of white egret’s feather and usually accompanied by a spray of diamonds. They were quite popular in the 19th century with royals, aristocrats and heiresses. This particular aigrette was made circa 1900s. The spray, which is detachable to wear as a brooch, is set with circular-cut diamonds.

Wikimedia Commons. American heiress Evalyn Walsh McLean is wearing an aigrette with feathers and studded with diamonds. Also, do you recognize her necklace? It’s the Hope Diamond!

Though this piece was created for a woman, men wore aigrettes too. You may have noticed that aigrettes were placed in the turbans of Ottoman sultans.

We don’t see feathered aigrettes worn by royals these days. They fell out of favor between World War I and World War II. Perhaps their usage declined since it’s not very nice to kill birds for their feathers.

What do you say? Is this headpiece a yay or a nay?

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