26 May 2011

Tiara Thursday: Some of Grace's Tiaras

The countdown is on for the wedding in Monaco, and you know what that means: it's time to start talking about tiaras. (When isn't it time to start talking about tiaras?)

When Grace Kelly became Princess Grace of Monaco, she didn't inherit a large jewel collection. Rainier's mother, Princess Charlotte, had a few pieces of significance; but as she reportedly didn't approve of Grace, she wasn't sharing. Thus, Grace built her own collection with presents and purchases, and she wasn't averse to borrowing pieces from jewelers to supplement as needed. There isn't a tremendous amount of information available about the Grimaldi tiara collection, but over the next few weeks, we'll look in depth at some of the more significant pieces. To start us off today, a selection of Grace's less significant (and more mysterious) tiaras and hair ornaments.

Perhaps because of the relatively small size of her collection, Grace was prone to elaborate hairstyles ornamented with jewels (both real and costume, I'd assume) in lieu of a tiara.

The shape of the hair ornament in the far right picture above recalls the shape of one of Grace's tiaras, the Serre-Chignon. She received it as a wedding gift and wore it to celebrate the Shah of Iran's Coronation (below, left).
The ruby ornament on the right is again a similar shape, though it does not look similar enough to me to be the same. I am, of course, no expert.

Rubies and diamonds were a very popular combination with Grace, which comes as no surprise since they represent the colors of Monaco. She wore this ruby tiara, which may have been a loan:

Another tiara of question is this high and narrow model:
This one could potentially have some colored stones involved, but it's difficult to tell.

In the "interesting materials" category, we have this metal diadem, possibly gold or white gold, though it looks like a theatrical piece to me:

We also have this tiara:
I'd wager a guess that this is a diamond necklace on hair parade, though it almost has a rock crystal look to it.

Switching over to something we actually have facts about for a change: this is without a doubt the grandest piece Grace ever wore, and it was a loan.
This tiara formerly belonged to Empress Joséphine, and is now owned by Van Cleef & Arpels. They loaned it to Grace for the "Century Ball" in Monaco in 1966 along with the rest of the jewels she wore that evening. Here it is, in all it's glory:

As I said, we have more tiaras from Monaco to review in the coming weeks. I'm very curious to see what the wedding and the future Princess Charlene bring to the table, jewel-wise. Monaco, you see, isn't really a tiara-prone country. There isn't a precedent for tiaras on their brides: Grace didn't wear a tiara, and neither did Stephanie or Caroline at any of their ceremonies. On the other hand, there is a precedent for tiaras at pre-wedding events: Grace and Rainier hosted a concert on the eve of their religious wedding at which she sported a tiara, and she also wore a tiara to the white-tie ball held before Caroline's first wedding. Albert and Charlene will have a similar concert the night before their religious ceremony. The ceremony itself is at 5 pm with a ball to follow, but the dress code is hats for ladies (which is, in my personal opinion, both strange and a crying shame).

I'm also curious to see what Princess Charlene will be wearing after the wedding. Grace's personal jewels were apparently left to Princess Caroline, with the provision that she share with Princess Stephanie. Additionally, the jewels that did belong to Rainier's mother Princess Charlotte seem to have ended up in Caroline's possession as well, as she's the only one that's been seen wearing them. The keys could very well be in Caroline's hands. We shall see...