06 October 2011

Tiara Thursday: The Mellerio Floral Tiara

Ready for the first Spanish tiara ever on Tiara Thursdays? You should be, it's pretty.
This tiara is perhaps a 19th century piece, possibly Russian, and was purchased from a Madrid jeweler; the other explanation you'll see is that it was commissioned from French jeweler Mellerio in 1962. (I'm calling it the Mellerio Floral Tiara as that's the name I'm most familiar with, though I suppose the more accurate title would be the Spanish Floral Tiara or something like that.) Either explanation will lead you to the same path: General Franco gave the tiara to Princess Sophia of Greece and Denmark on the occasion of her marriage to Juan Carlos of Spain in 1962. Franco would eventually name Juan Carlos as his successor and the monarchy would be restored on his death in 1975. (The history of monarchy is so rich in Spain, sometimes it's easy to forget that this particular incarnation is really quite new.)
Queen Sofia
Anyway, back to the jewels. This diamond tiara in a floral motif is actually convertible: it can be a necklace, or a set of brooches. Sofia (switching now to the regular Spanish spelling of her name, rather than the Greek Sophia) wore it as a necklace for her pre-wedding ball, and I'm not sure she's ever worn it as such again.
Sofia using the tiara as a necklace
You know, I think she really doesn't have time to play around with the convertible properties of this piece; it's kept in fairly constant use as a tiara. The Spanish collection of tiaras is not exactly small but it isn't overflowing with tiara riches either, so the ladies do a lot of sharing. This seems to be the most shared piece in the family. If there's a tiara event at which all of the Spanish royal ladies are present, it's nearly a guarantee that this one will be making an appearance.
Infanta Elena
Infanta Elena borrowed it mostly in her younger years; these days, she usually wears the tiara she received as a wedding gift from her (now ex-) husband's family.
Infanta Cristina
This seems to be Infanta Cristina's favorite tiara, as she wore it on her wedding day and has continued to do so since. Of course, Cristina doesn't own a tiara of her own. Princess Letizia wears it now too; it's currently her second most-worn tiara. (She does have her own now, but we haven't seen her wear it.)
Princess Letizia
Diamond floral tiaras are pretty common, but I think this one is a definite contender for the best floral tiara prize. It's delicate, but it's a great size and has good dimension. It looks good on a whole range of face shapes and hairstyles. Plus, it's convertible (which is awesome, even if you don't ever convert it).

Where does this rank on your list of favorite floral tiaras?

Photos: Corbis/ANP/Life