11 February 2016

Tiara Thursday: The Boucheron Wave Tiara

The Boucheron Wave Tiara
French master goldsmith Coulot used diamonds to make the ocean come to life for Boucheron in 1910 with the creation of the Boucheron Wave Tiara. The tiara makes use of the precious stones as well as the spaces that lack stones to depict an asymmetrical design of breaking waves rising up from its base.
The Great Wave off Kanagawa (also The Great Wave, or The Wave), 1830-33, Hokusai. A woodblock print and part of the series Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji
The piece was inspired by The Great Wave off Kanagawa by Hokusai, an iconic piece of Japanese art. Japanese influence in the fine arts in Europe grew rapidly in the late 1800s as the Meiji Restoration opened the country up to the west, and the Boucheron tiara is a masterful example of that inspiration.
Tiaras are listed in order below
Using water as an inspiration has yielded more than a few tiaras throughout history. Multiple examples of wave tiaras can be pulled just from royal families: Monaco's modern Ocean Tiara in diamonds and sapphires, the rolling ocean wave interpretation of the Mellerio Shell Tiara from the Spanish royal family, a subtle diamond and pearl version in Princess Noriko's Wave Tiara from Japan, the geometric interpretation of the Russian Wave Pattern Tiara, or the version with extravagantly large stones known as the Russian Sapphire Wave Tiara, to name a few.
But none of those other examples come close to interpreting their motif with as much dynamic movement or exquisite craftsmanship as the Boucheron Wave Tiara did. I've often wondered if that would make the Boucheron example harder to carry off in real life - make it less of a wearable piece and more of a museum item to be admired for its technical prowess - but alas, we'll never know. It is known to us through archive photos alone; there are no examples of the tiara in use, and its whereabouts are unknown.

Which wave tiara do you prefer?

Photos: Boucheron, Public Domain, Van Cleef & Arpels/DR/ANN screencap/USGS