29 November 2012

Tiara Thursday: The Nine Prong Tiara

One of Queen Silvia of Sweden’s favorite tiaras is often referred to as Queen Sophia’s (or Sophie’s) Diamond Tiara, which I suppose is the more historically accurate choice. But I like a little bit of description in my tiara name when I can get it – something to help you figure out which one you’re talking about – and so I’m going with the non-historical but dead on Nine Prong Tiara.
The Nine Prong Tiara
The tiara that I also refer to (not so affectionately) as the Pronger has more than 500 diamonds. They are arranged in a sunburst-type motif that terminates in, you’ll never guess, nine graduated prongs. Many tiaras have some level of adjustment to allow them to be adapted for the wearer’s comfort – after all, not every woman’s head is the same size and shape – but apparently this tiara lacks in the flexibility department. It seems that either your head fits this tiara, or…too bad for you.
Queen Sophia (left), Queen Louise (right)
The Pronger in the format we know today was first worn by Queen Sophia (1836-1913), hence the first name option. She wore it as a princess and later as a queen, and it’s possible it was originally created from an older piece in the Swedish royal collection. After Sophia, we next see it on Queen Louise of Sweden (1889-1965), who was the second wife of Sophia’s grandson, King Gustaf VI Adolf.
Left to Right: Princess Christina, Princess Margaretha, Princess Birgitta, Princess Lilian
Like many of the other major historical pieces in the Swedish royal jewel collection, the Nine Prong Tiara is protected by the system of Bernadotte family foundations. This means it is not any single person’s personal property, which would open it up to being sold or given away. In the case of the Swedish royal family’s practices, it also means that it has been worn by a variety of Bernadotte ladies since the passing of Queen Louise.
Queen Silvia
King Carl Gustaf’s sisters Princesses Christina, Margaretha, and Birgitta have all worn it, as has Princess Lilian, who is the wife of the King’s late uncle. But it is mainly (in fact, except for a couple of times, exclusively) worn by Queen Silvia since she married in to the family in 1976. She must fit it well, since it is a favorite and she wears it with no signs of discomfort. It's her most frequent choice for the Nobel Prize Ceremony (which is coming up!). It has not been worn by either of her daughters, which is fine by me.
Queen Silvia
Yes, if you haven’t sussed it out yet, I’m not a fan. Here’s the thing: it looks like antlers. Diamond antlers, sure, but antlers all the same. There are far more elegant pieces to be had in the expansive Swedish collection, is all I’m saying.

Are you a fan of the prongs?

Photos: Getty Images/IBL/Corbis