Friday, 4 January 2013


Cartier, Rinceaux Tiara, 1910

Tiaras are considered the ultimate royal power symbol. They have evolved through centuries into ever more sophisticated and luxurious versions according to their wearer's rank.  They came back in fashion during the XIX Century and remained so until the First World War. The first tiaras made by Cartier date back to the beginning of the XX Century and most of them were set in platinum in the Garland style that reproduced the motifs from french art during the XVII and XVIII Centuries. It was a fundamental piece of adornment for the Belle Epoque dames.

Queen Elisabeth II Kokoshnik Tiara

In a similar way to the impressive brooches Devant de Corsage which could be worn thanks to the corset; the grand tiaras were fixed to sophisticated hair arrangements with high buns. After 1907, the russian influence brought the Kokoshnik style tiaras and Cartier created several pieces set with diamonds.
Cartier, Bandeau Tiara, 1924
The years between the First and Second World wars brought some of the most radical changes experienced by humankind in such short time. A few years of economic prosperity altered the order of society granting merchants and bankers entrance into the most exclusive circles. But perhaps the biggest change of all was the one related to women and their freedom. Many women were then able to emancipate and manage their own affairs, something that was forbidden in most countries until quite recently. This brought also changes to the way they dressed and the heavy tiaras were replaced by the lighter and more daring bandeau, worn on the forehead. It was the early twenties.

Cartier, Aquamarie Tiara, London 1937

During the late thirties, tiaras were not used either in New York nor Paris, but they were still worn in the English Court. However, after years of the deepest recession known, diamonds were substituted by other "fine" gemstones.

© Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza