02 February 2012

Tiara Thursday: The Pearl Button Tiara

Our mini-celebration in honor of the 10th wedding anniversary of Willem-Alexander and Máxima concludes today with the tiara worn by dear Máx on her wedding day - or, to be more accurate, the tiara that was made into the tiara she wore that day: the Pearl Button Tiara.
The tiara is made of a diamond base swagged to support 5 upright pearl brooches (the buttons). Some say the base belonged to Queen Sophie of the Netherlands (wife of King Willem III; she lived from 1818-1877). But while the basic form of today's Pearl Button Tiara matches the tiara once worn by Sophie, the details are quite different. I would say it is either a new piece inspired by the old, or it's had quite the facelift.
Left, the tiara in question; right, some of the buttons from the set used as brooches
The "buttons" the base supports are small brooches which are part of a set that belonged to Queen Sophie and were also worn in brooch form by Queen Wilhelmina. Each one consists of a pearl button surrounded by diamond petals, and there are more in existence than are currently in use in the tiara.
Princess Margriet on her wedding day
Any which way you want to explain how the tiara came to its current form, the tiara that we know today was put on the map when Queen Juliana's daughter Margriet married Pieter van Vollenhoven in 1967 and chose to anchor her large updo with the pearl piece.
Queen Juliana, Princess Margriet, and Queen Beatrix have all worn this piece for regular tiara use, and Juliana loaned it to an in-law or two (her mother-in-law wore it prior to Margriet's wedding) but Margriet seems to have kicked off a tradition of using it for important events too.
Queen Beatrix at her investiture
Queen Beatrix chose the Pearl Button Tiara for her investiture as queen in 1980, and the base of the tiara was used by the court jeweler to make a new tiara for the 2002 wedding of Willem-Alexander and Máxima Zorreguieta.
Máxima on her wedding day
For this occasion, the pearl buttons were swapped out for one of the royal house's sets of diamond stars, 5 ten-point numbers that can also be worn as brooches or hair ornaments, and once belonged to Queen Emma. Máxima wore the newly created tiara on her wedding day and for the weddings of Princess Märtha Louise (2002) and Crown Prince Frederik (2004) after that, but we haven't seen the star version since.
More star tiara appearances
Star tiaras are tricky business (as, for that matter, are button tiaras). It's awfully easy to dip into hokey territory, and I'm sure there are those that find Máxima's adaptation here to be a tad too Las Vegas. But I love it. It's what you call an exceptional tiara-to-personality match, according to me.

Which version do you prefer: buttons or stars?

Photos: ANP/Corbis