24 January 2013

Tiara Thursday: The Habsburg Fringe Tiara

The Habsburg Fringe Tiara
The fringe, spike, or sun ray tiara is a Russian-inspired design which became an extremely widespread motif, and examples can be found in collections around the world. This is a strong classic example, featuring diamonds set in gold and silver. The taller and wider pavé set spikes alternate with short spikes set with collet diamonds, and all are attached to a simple diamond base. This particular model is usually attributed to the Austrian jeweler Kochert, who likely made it in the 1870s.
Maria Theresa
It is thought to have been a wedding gift to Infanta Maria Theresa of Portugal (1855-1944) for her 1873 marriage to Archduke Karl Ludwig of Austria, brother of Emperor Franz Joseph I. (It is this Austrian connection that gives us our Habsburg name.) Maria Theresa memorably wore the tiara for the wedding of Archduke Charles and Princess Zita of Bourbon-Parma.
Maria Theresa’s daughter, Elizabeth Amelie (1878-1960), married Prince Aloys of Liechtenstein, and it is usually assumed that she brought the tiara to Liechtenstein. It has remained with the princely family and has been worn by several members, most notably by Georgina (Gina), the wife of Elizabeth and Aloys’ son Prince Franz Joseph II.
Marie (left) and Isabelle (right)
Gina loaned the tiara for the weddings of two of her daughters-in-law: it was worn in 1967 by Countess Marie Aglaë Kinsky of Wchinitz and Tettau for her wedding to Prince Hans-Adam, the current reigning prince, and in 1971 by Isabelle de l’Arbre de Malander for her wedding to Prince Phillipp. In recent years we’ve seen the tiara on Sophie, the current Hereditary Princess of Liechtenstein. Sophie is the wife of Prince Alois, the son and heir of Hans-Adam, and she wore it while representing Liechtenstein at the weddings of Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden and Prince Albert II of Monaco.
Foreign royal events are about our only chance to see this tiara in use these days. (And even then, it's not a guarantee: recently, the Prince and Princess of Liechtenstein attended the pre-wedding dinner of the Hereditary Grand Duke of Luxembourg, which was a tiara event, but she chose not to wear a diadem.) As I’ve said before, this is the fringiest fringe that ever fringed, a tall and imposing version for those that love a good classic fringe tiara, and it’s a little sad we barely get to see it in action.

Does this make your list of favorite fringes?

(P.S.: For those of you that have been asking for a fringe comparison post - it's coming.)

Photos: Getty Images/All Over Press