02 October 2014

Tiara Thursday: The Japanese Pearl Sunburst Tiara

The Japanese Pearl Sunburst Tiara is a variant of the classic fringe tiara design with exceptionally thin and even diamond rays lining up to make a smooth top line, the shape known as a kokoshnik after traditional Russian headdresses. This version adds a handful of pearls at intervals along the top, which lends a little softness to an otherwise hard shape.
The Japanese Pearl Sunburst Tiara
Like so many other tiaras worn by the Japanese imperial family, we do not have much in the way of specific detail here. It clearly includes solely white stones, a feature of all Japanese tiaras. It also includes a mirrored necklace and a simple pair of earrings (possibly other matching pieces as well), forming a parure - a feature of many of the modern Japanese tiaras.
Michiko (left and center), Masako (right)
We can trace this one at least as far back as Empress Michiko, who used it during her years as crown princess. She has now passed it on to her daughter-in-law Crown Princess Masako. She did the same with the Crown Princess Scroll Tiara, making a little set of designated crown princess jewels. At some point, Masako switched over from the scroll tiara to the sunburst tiara, and when we see her tiara’d up today (which isn’t often), it’s in the Pearl Sunburst Tiara.

At the end of this month, King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima will pay a state visit to Japan, state banquet included. Masako’s father is a judge at the International Court of Justice in the Netherlands, and she seems to have a special connection to the Dutch royal family - she made her first international appearance in a long time at the Dutch inauguration last year – so I hope we’ll see her in action at some point during the visit.

Does this make your list of favorite fringe tiaras?

Photos: The Royal Forums/Corbis/yuko2ch