16 January 2014

Tiara Thursday: The Akishino Tiara

The Akishino Tiara
We did not see any of our previously-covered Japanese tiaras in action at their annual New Year's event this year, but here's one we did get to see. This tiara belongs to Princess Kiko, or the Princess Akishino. She's married to Prince Akishino, second son of Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko. It shares several characteristics with other tiaras from the imperial family: it comes with a matching parure, including at least a necklace, brooch, and earrings, and it is composed of all white stones (diamonds in this case). The design motif's a little hard to see and name, but it's always looked like a chain of paper dolls to me. (See it in action again: in the second video of this post, or at the end of this video.)
Princess Kiko (née Kiko Kawashima) debuted the parure on her wedding day in 1990. The set was most likely made for Kiko, as the family has a few tiaras to pass down but often purchase new for new tiara-wearers; Mikimoto is a popular jeweler with the imperial household and a likely maker. It is, so far, the only tiara we've seen on her - but she may have more options in her future, as she is set to become the empress one day. Akishino's older brother, Crown Prince Naruhito, has only a daughter; girls are ineligible for the throne at this point, making the Akishino couple and their son, Prince Hisahito, next in line after Naruhito. That means that the tiaras reserved for the empress may eventually be added to Kiko's line up* (and I wonder if the same will go for the Crown Princess Scroll Tiara). But she's got a good option here to tide her over - in fact, it might just be my favorite Japanese tiara.

How to you rank this one among the imperial tiaras?

*Updated to add clarification: Yes, it is possible the line of succession (Naruhito-Akishino-Hisahito) might not mean that all three sit on the throne; one possibility is that Akishino could predecease his brother. This was not mentioned in the original entry because it's always a possibility when discussing lines of succession. Even if Kiko never becomes the empress, she and her husband have an increasingly important role to play, and it's interesting to ponder how that might change her tiara prospects.

Photos: Imperial Household Agency/yuko2ch