14 April 2011

Tiara Thursday: The Surrey Fringe

This is the Surrey Fringe Tiara, or the County of Surrey Tiara, if you're feeling wordy. It was a wedding gift given to Princess Mary of Teck (the future Queen Mary) by the County of Surrey, surprisingly enough. This diamond tiara in a modified fringe design hasn't been seen since the early days of Mary's marriage.
I love a good fringe, but something about the design of this one makes it look like a fancy fence topper to me. (Talk about a tiara that you could poke an eye out with!) It is versatile, though: like many fringes, it can also be worn as a necklace.
When we talk about the Surrey Fringe, we also must talk about another wedding gift that Queen Mary received: a fringe necklace from Queen Victoria. The two pieces are nearly identical, which I suppose isn't that surprising given how common fringe designs were back then. I've highlighted the necklace and tiara on the sketch of wedding presents below:
Apparently, the necklace from Queen Victoria could also be worn as a tiara. The above right photo is from Queen Mary's wedding day, where a fringe appears to be peeking out from behind the flowers perched on her head. Queen Victoria noted in her diary that day that Mary had worn her present at the ceremony.

As with anything that we haven't seen in years (maybe even a century, in this case), it's anyone's guess whether it still exists or not. I'd say the fact that she had two nearly identical pieces increases the chance that one or the other was broken up.

What's your guess: does this still exist? And is it on your list of tiaras you'd like to see emerge from the vault?

UPDATE: This tiara was indeed dismantled, in 1913/1914. The large brilliants were used to top the Girls of Great Britain & Ireland Tiara, while other diamonds went towards the creation of the Gloucester Honeysuckle Tiara.

Photos: Getty Images/Suzy Menkes