08 January 2015

Tiara Thursday: Princess Kako's Tiara

It is standard practice in Japan's imperial household to provide each female member a tiara, either when they marry in to the family, or when they come of age at 20. Some of these are passed down, such as the two tiaras worn by Crown Princess Masako, and some are suspected to be reworkings of tiaras worn in the past by family members, but the imperial household remains one of the rare places where the purchase of a totally new parure still happens. The product of just such a commission was revealed at the end of last month.
Princess Kako's Tiara
Princess Kako of Akishino, second daughter of the Prince and Princess Akishino and granddaughter of the Emperor and Empress, turned 20 on December 29, 2014. In June 2013, it was announced that K. Mikimoto & Co. would be making her tiara and its matching set of jewelry after winning a bid between five jewelers for the honor. (The bidding process, as opposed to privately commissioning a selected jeweler, was introduced when creating the jewels for Princess Yōko of Mikasa's coming of age.) Mikimoto, a prestigious Japanese company known especially for their pearls, has a long history as an official jeweler to the imperial family. Their commission was for five pieces to be delivered the following March at a cost of approximately ¥30 million (about $250,000).
Princess Kako in her parure, on her birthday (center and left) and at the New Year's reception (right)
The resulting tiara is a series of linked scroll motifs around diamond clusters. The necklace is a mirror of the tiara's design, as is usually the case with these Japanese parures. Princess Kako also has earrings of round diamonds with a round diamond pendant, a design which is common to many of the family's jewel sets, a brooch, and at least one bracelet (she was wearing something sparkling on both wrists). She first wore the parure for her traditional coming of age visit to the Emperor and Empress, and then again a few days later for the annual New Year's court event.

Video: Kako's first outing of her new tiara
There's no mistaking this as a Japanese tiara, as it shares the all-white color scheme and somewhat generic design basis with many other sparkling headpieces in the family (I find it particularly reminiscent of her mother's tiara), and so it's a bit prone to get lost in the fray when the imperial ladies are all lined up. But on its own, I'm really charmed by this - then again, I am partial to tiaras with diamonds and scrolls - and can't help but wish someone would give me a birthday gift half this nice some day...sigh.

Favorite new tiara, or forgettable on the whole?

Photos: ANNNewsCH video