18 February 2011

Flashback Friday: Grand Duchess Maria Teresa's Tiaras

Settle in with some chocolate ice cream and a cocktail, kids: it's time to indulge in some guilty jewel pleasures!

Last Friday, we commemorated the 30th wedding anniversary of the Grand Duke and Grand Duchess by flashing back to Maria Teresa's wedding gown. This week, we shall continue by celebrating my favorite thing about my favorite Grand Duchess: her tiara collection. And it is a collection, let me tell you. Commence drooling...now:

(Note: these are the names I use for these tiaras. You won't find anything official here!) (And another note: these are just the pieces that I have pictures of Maria Teresa wearing...there is more to the family collection.)

1. Congo Diamond Necklace Tiara. The classic Luxembourg wedding tiara, given to M-T's late mother-in-law Joséphine-Charlotte (a Belgian princess) as a wedding present from the Congo (then a Belgian colony). This was the first of two tiaras she wore on her wedding day: yes, it seems J-C was my kind of girl. As far as I know, it's been a long time since this one's been worn in tiara form (as a necklace, yes - tiara, no); perhaps the next time we see it will be on Guillaume's future bride, or on Alexandra's wedding day?

2. Diamond Floral Tiara #1. This wee bit of floral bling is the only one that we've seen Princess Alexandra wear, and it was loaned out to niece Marie Christine on her wedding day. It almost sits flat back on the head sometimes, which is odd.

3. Diamond Floral Tiara #2. Mostly, I hear reference to only one diamond floral tiara in the Lux family (#1), but I do think this one is different. More of a vine structure than flowers, it looks to me, plus it appears larger and to have a different shape than #1. You know you're talking about a jewel collection of substance when it includes more than one diamond floral tiara!

4. Belgian Scroll Tiara. This sparkler was the second tiara Joséphine-Charlotte wore on her wedding day, for pictures, and it was another wedding gift. I love this tiara so hard, you guys. I can't believe they almost sold it: it was part of a proposed auction of some of J-C's jewels after her death. Public outcry was such that the Grand Duke ended up canceling the sale, thank heavens! I'm ever so glad it's found a secure place in the royal vault since that little mishap.

5. Luxembourg Empire Tiara. Too big, you say? Too much? No, I say, you are wrong. Because: BAM! This is a tiara, right? All hail the big guns! Maria Teresa didn't wear this bad boy until after Joséphine-Charlotte's death, but she's found a few choice occasions for it since. I will concede that this is a hard one to orchestrate the hair around, though.

6. Aquamarine Bandeau Tiara. There aren't that many good aquamarine tiaras out there - especially aquamarine tiaras that come with a parure to wear alongside - and I think this is one of them. 

7. Chaumet Emerald Tiara. It's Wonder Woman, I know. You've got to watch your tiara hair with this one, but I still love it. It's like you just plopped a duck egg of an emerald on your head. That's my kind of super hero. (Also: that choker was also on the proposed jewel sale. Outrage!)

8. Joséphine-Charlotte's Van Cleef and Arpels Emerald and Diamond Convertible Tiara. Longest tiara name ever? (I'm just trying to be servicey with the details.) This is...odd. I think I prefer it as a necklace. Maria Teresa just wore this for the first time during the state visit to Portugal last fall. She wore it to a black tie event at which she was the only one sporting a tiara, so the scale was probably right, but I much prefer this on a younger princess. Like Tessy, who wore this on her first-ever tiara outing for National Day 2008.

9. Topaz or Citrine Tiara. This one hasn't been seen since the early days of Maria Teresa's marriage. I think it's time for it to come out of retirement: it's unusual, in a good way. It'd be another good option for a younger princess, such as Alexandra or Tessy. (Also: holy earrings, Batman! My ear lobes ache just looking at them!) (UPDATE: and it has indeed been worn by both Alexandra and Maria Teresa since this writing.)

10. Grand Duchess Marie Adelaide's Tiara. I haven't done the math or anything, but I think we could proclaim this one the most frequently worn tiara of the lot. Maria Teresa sure seems to like it, but I'm not so convinced. Sometimes it seems like it sits too high up on the head for my tastes. 

11. Amethyst Tiara. Needs more bling. Seriously, you can hardly see it up there! And visible framework sends shivers down my magpie spine. It's a shame, too: the world needs more fabulous amethyst tiaras.

12. Pearl and Diamond Choker Tiara. As the name states, the lattice portion of this can also be worn as a choker, and you have to admire any jewel that gives you more bang for your buck. That said, I don't like it. Looks like a diamond barbed wire fence atop the head to me. Which, I mean, if you're going to put a fence on your noggin, you might as well make it sparkly, but still: I'm not a fan.

13. Turquoise Tiara. Methinks this one might be a new addition by Maria Teresa in the past few years, which I'm always in favor of. It's definitely a tiara for the younger generation, though: it's far more suited to Tessy (who wore it for National Day 2010) than to M-T. She needs...more.

Without question, one of my favorite jewel collections. Lucky girl, that M-T!

And now it's time to pick and choose: which one's your favorite?