Thursday, April 7, 2011

Tiara Thursday: The Teck Tiaras

It's a two-for-one tiara sale today! Celebrate appropriately.

The Teck Crescent Tiara
The Teck Crescent Tiara came into the British royal family by way of Queen Mary's mother, Princess Mary Adelaide, the Duchess of Teck. This diamond diadem, featuring three wild roses separated by crescent shapes, is thought to have been a wedding present for her marriage in 1866.
Mary Adelaide wore the tiara atop two rows of diamond rivieres for additional height. She's also demonstrating that the individual elements can be removed, as you can see that the crescents are facing a different direction in the first photograph than in the rest of the pictures. Once removed, the crescents can be used as dress ornamentation; small brooches, I suppose.
Mary Adelaide's daughter-in-law, the next Duchess of Teck, was also seen wearing the tiara (above), but at some point it passed into the hands of Queen Mary, who gave it to Queen Elizabeth (the future Queen Mother). Somewhere along the road, the two rows of diamonds from the bottom were removed.
Queen Elizabeth did not wear this tiara very often. As you can see, it has a huge circumference, and she just didn't have the hair to fill it up. Elizabeth was the first queen to eschew the use of additional hair pieces to supplement her own locks, and this is certainly a tiara best worn with some major tiara hair, probably with fake additions.
The Queen Mother did lend this tiara out to be exhibited late in her life. So we know that it still exists, and we can assume (just like we can with the Strathmore Rose tiara), that it has passed on to the Queen.

I've always found this one rather curious. The combination of crescents and roses baffles me. (There must be some sort of deep symbolism there that I'm missing.) And I must admit I don't find it tremendously pleasing in the aesthetic sense. I do think it deserves another go, though: on a lady with the hair to pull it off (and the hairstylist to go with - an up-do would be a must!).

The Teck Circle Tiara
If that tiara isn't your style, the Teck suite has something else to offer for your consideration: the Teck Circle Necklace, which can also be worn as a tiara.
This is a set, although I must admit that it doesn't bear as much thematic resemblance to its tiara as you'd typically expect with such a pairing (think: the Nizam of Hyderabad set). Nevertheless, the two pieces historically went together. You can see it around the necks of Mary Adelaide and her daughter-in-law up there.

Where the set starts to break up is in the hands of the Queen Mother. She mixed the pieces with other jewels, and gave the necklace, but not the tiara, to Princess Margaret.
Queen Elizabeth is the only one we've seen wear it as a tiara. I'm sort of surprised I've never seen a photo of Princess Margaret wearing it in her hair; I can't help but think it would have gone well with those sky-high 1960s 'dos she favored. (Doesn't mean she didn't wear it as such of course.)
As a tiara, I think it's quite modern. Certainly a very different piece than the Crescent Tiara. I'd also imagine it must encircle the head completely, or nearly completely. (But of course we have so very few pictures of it worn as a tiara at all, let alone a back view.) If true, that would make it almost as difficult to wear as the Crescent Tiara. 

Since this one was in Princess Margaret's hands, it's hard to say where it's at today: did it pass to her one of her children, Viscount Linley, or Lady Sarah Chatto? Or was it returned to the Queen? All we know is that it was not included in the sale of Margaret's possessions that saw many of her jewels leave royal hands.

So, what's your preference: the Crescent Tiara, or the Circle Tiara? If one of these pieces was scheduled for a reappearance, which one would you place your bets on?

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