Put a crown on it

When I got married I wasn’t at all interested in tiaras.  Mostly this is because most of the ones available at the time looked too much like pageant tiaras.  I’m not really a pageant girl.

Now, if I’d been able wear a good replica of one of these historic tiaras, I would have been all over the idea!

This one may be my favourite.  Oooh!  It’s so sweet and delicate and floral!

Tiara, 1910-29, Met

And we all know my weakness for laurel leaves, so of course I love this one.  It’s just so simple.

Tiara, laurel wreath, 19th c. MFA Boston

This one may be even better.  It has laurel leaves, neoclassical influence, and a cameo.  I’m in love!

Tiara wreath, 1815, V&A

The cameo is a little manly though.  I’d prefer a more feminine picture, like this one.  In addition to the pretty image, I love the turquoise and pearls, and the slight asymmetry of the central motif.  Plus that wirework is so delicate!

Tiara, pearls, date unknown, MFA

The silver filigree work on this one is just gorgeous, and of course, many of the Scandanavian countries still have a strong tradition of brides wearing this type of tiara.

Tiara, Norwegian, J. Tostrup, 1872, Met

For something really different, what about this fabulous coral tiara?  Wouldn’t it be amazing at a beach wedding?  Coral was really popular in the 19th century, and symbolised good luck and health.  Of course, global coral stocks aren’t so healthy these days, so the only ethical way to wear coral would be to wear a vintage piece like this.

Tiara, Phillips Brothers, 1860-70, V&A

Another common 19th century tiara material that is really unusual these days is black jet or black cast glass.  I can’t say it is my thing, but I would love to see a replica of one of these on a modern bride.  If you couldn’t afford jet, cast glass (also called ‘Vauxhall glass’, after the famous pleasure gardens) was a cheaper alternative to jet.

Tiara of cast glass, Bohemia, 1880-90, V&A

For another ‘cheaper’ tiara, what about this cast gold and  chrysoprase glory?  If for no other reason I’d love it because it had chrysoprase.

Tiara, England, 1830, cast gold & chrysophrase, V&A

Of course, cast gold is still gold, so for an actually cheaper alternative, the Victorian’s used a lot of cut steel.  Very pretty, very sparkly, but not that expensive.

Tiara, cut steel, ca. 1900, MFA

And for the cheapest tiara of all, this mid-20th century theatre tiara puts the biggest smile on my face.  It’s so adorable and witty and fun!  I can just imagine a sort of Alice in Wonderland wedding with the bride in this.

Tiara of diamantes & false pearls, Hugh Skillen (Costumier), 20th c

If cheap really isn’t your thing, how about a truly sumptuous diamond tiara?

Floral tiara of diamonds, 1835, V&A

Queen Anne's lace diamond and pearl tiara, 1850, V&A

*Swoon* I think I might have to rethink my attitude towards diamonds!  I’d wear either of these in a heartbeat!  Heck, if I had one of these, I’d wear it EVERY day!

Floral diamond tiaras have a strong link to weddings too.  Queen Victoria’s bridesmaids all wore diamond wreaths in the shape of wheat ears.  I don’t think any of us can afford to deck out our bridesmaids in diamond wreaths these days though!


  1. I’m with ya. I’m not much of a tiara type either, but those are goooorgeous, well, except the coral one, eee? My faves are the first, and the jet glass. Beautiful! Thank you for posting <3

  2. These are so pretty! I agree – not one for the tiaras in general, but probably because so many of them today read pageant. I really love the first two, but also the jet glass and the steel cut tiara. The coral one is also really interesting because it is so different.

  3. ahh, these are so beautiful! I could totally see you wearing one of the neoclassical ones and looking perfect!

  4. Wow these are all really gorgeous, not the Disney princess tat that I associate with tiaras. I’ve made lace tiaras in my time – stiffened lace with pearls sewn in and worn with fresh flowers, and they can be really pretty, too. But loving this crop and I can’t even choose a favourite because they are all glorious in their own right!

    • They did indeed! And many a geek-y bride has since copied them, as a quick google image search of ‘Lord of the Rings wedding’ will soon show you. I do think they are lovely though – as long as you don’t pair them with fake pointy ears and a celebrant in a fake long white wig!

  5. I love the cast glass one! It’s a bit of a patriotic thing :-), but even if it weren’t, I’d love it. I think jet, or this cheaper cast glass, are fantastic – they’re so different from other types of jewellery! A bit of a Little Black Jewellery. 😉
    Not sure if I’d wear them to my wedding, though. Someone else’s for sure!

      • I know. I was talking about the jet/black glass jewellery in general in the last sentences, not just the tiara – I did not make that clear enough. And it’s a hypothetical situation anyway, because I don’t have it. 😉

  6. Madame Ornata says

    Oh fun, thank you these are gorgeous! They inspire me to reclaim the tiara from the garbage pile of tacky connotations. We can rip it from the tasteless hands of the Disney and pageant princesses and place it rightly back on the heads of those that appreciate a little bling to complement all the lovely evening gowns we so adore.

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