Princess Louise, daughter of King Edward VII, was given this magnificent diamond tiara by her new husband, the Duke of Fife. It was designed in 1887 by French jeweler Oscar Massin.
The tiara is set with hundreds of diamonds. You’ll note the large pear shaped diamonds and that they are “swing-set,” allowing them to move and sparkle when the diamonds catch the light. It must have been quite a sight to behold when worn.
Today we know the Halo Tiara as the wedding tiara of the Duchess of Cambridge. But originally it was made for Queen Elizabeth (the Queen Mother) by Cartier in 1936.
The diamond tiara is in the shape of a “halo” and has 16 scrolls. It’s set with 739 brilliant cut diamonds and 149 baton (cut in a long, thin rectangular shape) diamonds. Each scroll is divided by one brilliant cut diamond. The largest diamond is reserved for the center of the tiara.
Today’s tiara is a rarity. The unique diamond and ruby tiara, set in gold, dates to the Ottoman Empire. It was made in Turkey around 1800. Ottoman Sultans retained jewelers at court; in 1526 the Sultan retained around 90 jewelers. This tiara was probably made by such an artisan in the Sultan’s service.
The tiara follows a favorite motif of Ottoman jewelry; nature. The focus of the ornate headpiece is a large diamond floral rosette; its petals set in sparkling diamonds. The floral sprays surrounding the center are set with diamonds and rubies. The crown-like tiara is topped with the star and crescent moon motif.
It was sold by Sotheby’s in 2011 and I can just image the grandeur of this tiara when it was worn. I’d love to see this tiara repaired, polished and worn again, but I don’t think that will happen. My guess is that it was bought for sentimental reasons or to display as decorative art.
Bentley & Skinner sold an early 20th century American diamond scroll tiara, circa 1900. The diamond tiara has three ribbon bow motifs and a garland running through the tiara. It’s encrusted with old-cut diamonds.
The tiara is stamped with the name of the firm Bailey, Banks and Biddle. Bailey, Banks and Biddle was an American company founded in 1832 in Philadelphia, PA. Perhaps a Dollar Princess brought it with her to the UK and eventually the tiara made its way to Bentley & Skinner? We may never know, but it’s a dreamy and beautiful tiara.