13 October 2016

Tiara Thursday: Queen Geraldine’s Sapphire and Diamond Tiara

Earlier this year, we featured the diamond tiara of Queen Geraldine of the Albanians, a lovely floral diadem with a ram’s head right in the middle. (Symbolism. We’ll get to that.) I mentioned at the time that the Albanian royal family was uncommonly fond of this symbol when it came to their jewelry; ram’s heads featured in tiaras worn by all of the sisters of King Zog, Geraldine’s husband, and Geraldine herself had a second tiara showcasing this symbol.
Queen Geraldine's Sapphire and Diamond Tiara
This second tiara is a small piece including sapphires and diamonds in a floral design with the heraldic symbol of the Albanian royal house resting underneath a diamond and sapphire floral arch. That symbol is a helmet topped by a ram’s head, and it is also the symbol of Skanderbeg, a fifteenth-century warrior often referred to as Albania’s national hero. King Zog proclaimed himself King of the Albanians in 1928 and claimed to be a successor to Skanderbeg, making this an important symbol for the royal house.
Queen Susan
Several pieces of the family’s jewelry were sold in the decades following their 1939 exile. A sapphire and diamond necklace, bracelet, brooch, and ring were sold by King Leka, Zog and Geraldine’s son, in the 1980s, but this tiara remained with the family. It was worn by King Leka’s wife, Queen Susan, and is now worn by a new Albanian bride.
Crown Prince Leka II, son of the late King Leka and the late Queen Susan, married Elia Zaharia on October 8, 2016, in Tirana. The new Crown Princess Elia wore the sapphire and diamond tiara on her wedding day, along with a gorgeous wedding gown. It’s quite the fairytale look, wouldn’t you say? Stunning, I thought.
Crown Princess Elia
Kevjassintkevin via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0
Seeing the tiara on its own, the bejeweled animal at the center is the first impression you get, and it’s a strong impression given how rare it is to see something like that as part of a tiara design. But that impression changes when the small jewel is in use. Here, it simply looks like a petite floral tiara; you have to know what you’re looking for in order to make out the crest motif. The new Crown Princess wore it well.
The royal wedding drew guests from some twenty royal houses and included a white tie reception. Some guests went for tiaras, like Princess Michael of Kent in the Kent Festoon Tiara; others, like Queen Sofia of Spain, went without.

Better in use, yes or no?

Photos: Albanian royal family, via Wikimedia Commons and Getty Images as indicated