07 July 2011

Tiara Thursday: The Diamond Foam Tiara and Charlene's Wedding Gifts

Prior to the Prince and Princess of Monaco's wedding, major names in jewelry were asked to submit sketches for a new tiara for Charlene Wittstock. Charlene and Prince Albert chose one of three designs submitted by jeweler Lorenz Bäumer, and that new tiara made its royal debut on the brand-new Princess of Monaco at the evening wedding ball.
Christened the Diamond Foam Tiara, the setting includes almost 60 carats of diamonds in a white gold setting. The largest diamond is a whopping 8 carats alone. I think it's pretty easy to see why this tiara attracted Charlene: not only is the piece as modern as her taste obviously is, the design of larger diamonds at the end of arcs of smaller precision-cut diamonds evokes the spray of crashing ocean waves. Appealing for the princess of a Mediterranean country to be sure, and definitely appealing when that princess happens to be a champion swimmer.
I'm not always a fan of modern tiara designs, but there are two things that are definitely better when it comes to new pieces: first, they are often designed to be convertible. This tiara can disassemble to become a large or small brooch or hairpiece. (It even comes with its own little screwdriver with a "C" on the handle for just such changes.) And second, information is often readily available when we're talking about new pieces. Here's a video in which the designer discusses the new tiara (well, he does if you speak French), and we get to see Charlene trying on the tiara.

Immediately, you'll notice the difference between the look of the tiara in the video and the look when Charlene wore it at the ball. Here's a screen shot from the video:
Worn like this, I think it's quite lovely. Looks like her head is exploding in diamonds, but if your head's going to explode, the sparks might as well be diamonds, right?

And here's a close up from the tiara's public debut:
She's reversed it, wearing the spray behind her left ear instead of her right as the design shows, which is probably depriving us of the full sparkle effect, and she's also tilted it so that it comes forward at a lower angle. Because of the difference in the angle, I think the tiara loses its three-dimensional effect. The diamonds are pressed right up against her hair, so instead of looking like a tiara from the front, it looks as though she has Broadway microphones in her hair, or bugs sitting on her head or something. And I am left wondering why she wore it like this instead of the other way. Clearly, we're going to have to see it again.

The Diamond Foam Tiara is not the only significant piece of jewelry Charlene received as a wedding gift from Prince Albert. At the concert the evening of the civil wedding, she debuted an impressive new necklace:
This is called the Infinite Cascade necklace, and was made by Tabbah Jewellers. It has a certain wave design to it, carrying on that aquatic theme that extends right through the second tiara she received. (Yes, two.)
This is the Ocean Tiara (which can also be a necklace, and has detachable elements) commissioned from Van Cleef & Arpels for the bride. Charlene told Vogue that she loaned the tiara out to the Oceanographic Museum, hence her not wearing it as a part of the wedding festivities, and will wear it at her first official engagement. We'll do a Tiara Thursday post for that when she fulfills that promise, but we can all enjoy the tiara's official video while we wait:
What do you think of the Diamond Foam Tiara and the rest of Charlene's wedding gifts?

Photos: AP/Vogue/Svenskdam