12 September 2013

Tiara Thursday: The Chaumet Bourbon-Parma Tiara

The Chaumet Bourbon-Parma Tiara
This is one of those rare tiaras that has managed to become fairly well known despite the fact that it isn't owned by a reigning royal family, and wasn't ever really worn by a hugely famous royal. It does have royal roots, though, as it was initially a wedding gift for a royal marriage. The Belle Époque style tiara was made in 1919 by Joseph Chaumet and was bought by the Duchess of Doudeauville (some reports say it was the Duke). She gave it to her daughter, Hedwige de La Rochefoucauld (1896-1986), for her marriage to Prince Sixtus of Bourbon-Parma that same year. It has a base which alternates between sizes of diamond collets and a body of sprays of diamonds held by knife-edge platinum settings. The top has upright pear-shape diamonds and there are both round and pear-shape diamonds below.
The wedding of Sixtus and Hedwige (this tiara not included)
You might be tempted to relate the Bourbon-Parma name to the current crop of Bourbon-Parma relations that are still roaming around today's royal events, but Sixtus and his family were just one part of the enormous B-P family. Prince Sixtus was the son of Robert I, Duke of Parma and Maria Antonia of Portugal, the Duke's second wife. Robert fathered 24 children in his two marriages and his descendants include the Luxembourg royals (son Prince Félix of Bourbon-Parma married Grand Duchess Charlotte), the family of Empress Zita of Austria (who was another of Robert's children), the children of Princess Irene of the Netherlands (whose late husband was Carlos Hugo, Duke of Parma and grandson of Robert), and more.
Modeled by Sophie Marceau (left) and Stella Tennant (right)
This tiara did not stay in that huge family, though. It was ultimately reacquired by Chaumet, and if you were previously familiar with this tiara, your connection is likely thanks to the Chaumet ownership. It has appeared in ads, exhibitions, and on film: Valérie Lemercier wore it in Palais Royal! and a copy appeared on the head of Anne Hathaway in the Princess Diaries films.
Valérie Lemercier (left) and Anne Hathaway (right)
It's a good tiara to use for promotion, since the skill required to put this one together is evident. I think it looks best when worn, when the connections between the diamonds disappear and it takes on a delicate water drop look.

How do you rate this tiara?

Photos: Chaumet/Disney