09 June 2011

Tiara Thursday: The Bains de Mer Tiara

Here's one of the more unique tiaras in the Monaco collection: the Bains de Mer Tiara, a wedding gift to Grace from the Société des Bains de Mer. SBM runs casinos and many of the high-end hotels in Monaco, and is today the largest employer in the principality. I've seen this tiara referred to with different variations of the company's name, but I'll keep it simple and stick with calling it the Bains de Mer.
This piece was created by Cartier for the new Princess of Monaco. The central elements are three detachable brooches made of diamonds and cabochon rubies set in gold and platinum. The rubies total 49 carats.
For a woman so creative with her jewels, Grace must have been in heaven with this piece. In addition to wearing the brooches (in hair, on clothes), it also works as a necklace:
And of course, in full tiara format:
This just really makes me wish she a) had bigger jewels to play with and b) had more occasions on which to play. Grace had the fashion + tiara hair + gravitas that makes for such a majestic picture.
Princess Caroline now wears the brooches, though I've never seen her wear the full tiara.
These brooches are usually on display with the touring Grace Kelly exhibit that is currently in Brazil. Most of the tiaras that we know to be owned by the Monegasque house are typically shown with that exhibit, in fact. It will be in Brazil until July 10, adding even more mystery to the question of what (if any) jewels we might see at Albert and Charlene's wedding.

Though I like the versatility of this piece, the shapes of the brooches sometimes strike me as little insect shapes, or possibly something extraterrestrial in nature. Are you a fan, or are you seeing shapes too?