06 November 2014

Tiara Thursday: The Cartier Essex Tiara

The Cartier Essex Tiara
Another tiara famous more for its maker than for its wearers is the Cartier Essex Tiara. The design of scrolling foliage is classic Cartier, also seen in pieces such as the Cartier Diamond and Pearl Tiara and Queen Maria Cristina's Cartier Loop Tiara from Spain, or the bandeau tiara that formerly belonged to the Belgian royal family. This model was bought in 1902 by the Earl of Essex for his wife, Adele, who was an American heiress. According to Geoffrey Munn's Tiaras: A History of Splendor, the Earl provided the stones (759 brilliants and 289 rose-cut diamonds, with a total weight around 156 carats) for the design, which was inspired by a Malaysian headdress.
Lady Churchill, Crown Princess Margarita, and a detail of the setting
Eventually, the tiara left the Essex family and was added to the collection at Cartier. The renowned French jeweler has loaned the tiara out on multiple occasions, allowing it to be worn by Clementine, Lady Churchill, for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, by Crown Princess Margarita of Romania for her wedding, and by a model in a Vogue photoshoot, to name a few. It has also been displayed in many exhibits. You can spot it sparkling away in the video below, from the large Paris exhibition earlier this year:

This tiara is actually pretty big. Its tall structure makes it one of the rare tiaras that can stand up in a hairstyle that might otherwise swallow a smaller piece (see both Clementine and Margarita above). The size plus the dangling pendant at the bottom center of the piece could make it hard to wear - but they make it great to display, so it's right at home in the Cartier collection.

Does this make your list of favorite Cartier tiaras?

Photos: Cartier, Life, DR, EFE video