09 January 2014

Tiara Thursday: The Cartier Onyx Tree Kokoshnik

The Cartier Onyx Tree Kokoshnik
We don't see onyx that often in today's royal jewels, though it was long a staple of mourning jewelry. But in this tiara the black material shines, depicting an Art Deco tree with branches sprawling across a diamond background in a platinum setting. The tiara, made by Cartier Paris in 1914, also features pearls studding the top of its kokoshnik shape (kokoshniks are traditional Russian headdresses) and touches of black enamel. The tree is fascinating here, too - nature motifs are incredibly common in the tiara world, but this stylized version is a uniquely complete depiction, trunk and all. The combo of the tree and the black onyx gives this diadem sort of an Evil Queen appeal, don't you think? Just me? (That's a compliment, by the way. The Evil Queen always gets the best wardrobe.)
Center detail of the tiara; a clutch with the tiara's image carried by Charlotte Casiraghi; the Cartier exhibit ad
The tiara exists in the Cartier world as a showpiece, really, a stunning example of the craftsmanship and Art Deco styling of the renowned firm. I have not seen it in use (though if you have an example, feel free to comment). It's a cover girl tiara, its image adorning book covers, promotional materials, even purses. Currently, it's being used in promotions for a massive Cartier exhibit in Paris.

Video: The Cartier exhibit
The Cartier: Style and History exhibition at the Grand Palais, Paris, runs until February 16, 2014. Hundreds of Cartier works of art are on display, including some pieces with royal connections. Queen Elizabeth II has loaned out the Williamson Diamond Brooch and the Halo Scroll Tiara; Monaco's princely family has loaned pieces including the Cartier Pearl Drop Tiara, the brooches from the Bains de Mer Tiara, a diamond necklace, and Princess Grace's engagement ring; the bandeau tiara that belonged to Belgium's Queen Elisabeth is out for show, plus pieces from the collection of the Duchess of Windsor, and much much more. If you can get there, don't miss it! 

How do you rate this tree tiara?

P.S.: Our new Royal Outfit of the Day series runs on Thursdays too, so keep reading for the second post!

Photos: Cartier/Getty Images