04 June 2015

Tiara Thursday: The Dutch Ears of Wheat Tiara

Last week, Queen Máxima dipped into a part of the Dutch jewel collection she had previously left untouched, wearing a few of the family's diamond ears of wheat as hair ornaments. These may be small jewels, but they have a big history.
The Dutch Ears of Wheat Tiara
They are thought to have a Russian origin and are traced back to Queen Catherine of Württemberg (1788-1819, born Grand Duchess Catherine Pavlovna of Russia). Catherine's daughter Sophie (1818-1877) was the first wife of King William III of the Netherlands, and she brought the set of diamond ears of wheat to their Dutch home. They have remained in the royal family ever since, and are part of the family foundation.
Princess Margriet (left), Princess Irene (right)
Queen Máxima's use of three in barrette style was a reminder that they haven't always been set in tiara form. Using them in traditional tiara style became the norm during the reign of Queen Juliana (1909-2004; reign 1948-1980), and the tiara was worn particularly by Juliana's three youngest daughters (Princesses Irene, Margriet, and Christina). The current tiara frame allows for four, six, or eight ears of wheat to be set in two piles on either side of the head. The two lowest ears nearly join in the middle, but apart from that, there is no center design element.
Princess Laurentien
Princess Margriet used the tiara as a young princess and has continued to be the royal family member that uses the tiara most frequently for gala occasions. Princess Laurentien has also given it a try, but the Ears of Wheat have found their greatest recognition as a bridal tiara.
Princess Anita
All four of Princess Margriet's daughters-in-law (Princesses Marilène, Annette, Anita, and Aimée) wore the Ears of Wheat Tiara for their religious wedding ceremonies. Princess Irene's daughter, Princess Margarita, wear the tiara for her first wedding. And it's most recent bridal outing was on Irene's daughter-in-law, Princess Viktória, who wore it for her 2013 nuptials.
Princess Viktória
The brides have used the tiara with varying numbers of diamond elements, sometimes ending up hiding those elements with the pouf of a veil, which is one downside to using this as a bridal diadem. But the upside is that a veil can even out the somewhat sparse middle section of the tiara, helping avoid the unfortunate squaring off of the head that this tiara can cause when not backed by enough hair. Ears of wheat are a recurring motif in jewelry of the time and in tiaras, even though the long and skinny shapes aren't necessarily easy to adapt to a tiara design. It's always a surprise to be reminded that there are pieces in the royal collection that haven't been touched by Máxima's quest to leave no stone unturned (literally), but at the same time, I can't blame her for leaving this tiara alone.

Who do you think wears this one best?

Photos: via Getty Images and gahetNA//Fotocollectie Anefo/Nationaal Fotopersbureau