Tiaras have always been regarded as an image of royalty and power, and in fact, tiaras have actually been commonly used as a status symbol for the wearer. In the past, only during major ceremonies, banquets, weddings, or other formal settings would the royalties and nobility be wearing the tiaras. However, as his-torical context changes over time, tiaras have gradually become more widely worn and have turned into a piece of fashion accessory. Up to this day, tiaras still represent the finest jewelry-making craftsmanship.
在西方許多顯赫王室家族中，冠冕始終有著特殊的地位，它被代代鄭重相傳，同時傳承著家族的歷史與核心價值。以嫁入王室的凱特王妃（劍橋公爵夫人凱薩琳殿下）為例，她婚禮中所配戴的「Halo」光環冠冕是1936年由卡地亞為當時的約克公爵所打造，而後他成為喬治六世後又作為禮物贈予妻子，之後更成為了其女伊麗莎白二世的十八歲生日禮，英女王的妹妹瑪格利特公主、其女安妮公主都曾經配戴過這頂光環冠冕。此外，凱特王妃首度出席國宴所配戴的蓮花冠冕（Lotus Flower Tiara）則是製作於1923年，出自傳自英國珠寶商GARRARD之手，原屬英女王所有，她將其贈予了瑪格麗特公主。另一頂知名的劍橋情人結冠冕（Cambridge Lover’s Knot Tiara）則是為瑪麗女王所打造，同樣出GARRARD之手，大不列顛和愛爾蘭公主都曾經配戴過，但最讓人印象深刻的還是黛安娜王妃婚禮時，也是戴著這頂冠冕。不僅西方皇室，東方皇室也能見到冠冕出現在重要場合，MIKIMOTO便曾在1923年至1924年間受到日本皇室委託，為昭和天皇的成婚大典訂製冠冕。這些在重要國宴、婚禮的場合才會出現的冠冕，更多時候代表的就是尊榮的地位、榮耀與傳承。
冠冕的使用在咆哮絢麗的20年代有較為巨大的變化，隨著舊時代的過去，冠冕不再只是王室貴族的專屬，而成為炫目的時尚配飾，加上正是Art Nouveau新藝術運動與Art Deco裝飾主義的交會點，珠寶設計與配戴方式呈現出前所未有的蓬勃生命力，既有結合自然元素的美學創意，也有裝飾藝術幾何的融合，歌舞昇平的年代則讓女性們多喜好配戴設計突出的髮帶與冠冕出席各種活動場合。
It seems that every woman shares the same fantasy when they were little girls: imagining that they are princesses, having their own weddings of the century, or even becoming a queen. All these wonderful imaginations are directly associated with one thing, and that is a tiara. At some level, a tiara represents power bestowal. Ancient Greeks would place a headpiece in the form of a flower crown on the head of Greek Gods’ statues, or they would also present the headpiece to winners at sports events and to triumphant warriors. People of prestigious class in ancient Greek society would also wear the crowns at weddings and banquets, giving birth to the origin of a tiara. In the Middle Ages, tiaras were not as popular; and they would gradually return to the spotlight only during the Renaissance and reached the peak once again in the 18th century.
Tiaras are not limited to only one specific form, a tiara is rather a general term for headpieces, which encompass diadems, circlets and bandeaus. A tiara is considered a critical ceremonial adornment during ma-jor ceremonies. Not only does it symbolize the glory of royalty and the monarchy in the Western world, but it is also a fashion piece amongst the nobles.
Tiaras possess an exclusive status in many prominent royal families, where they have been formally passed down from generation to generation while carrying the families’ history and core values. Take Catherine, Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge, who married into a royal family, for example, the ”Halo” tiara she wore at her wedding was a piece that Cartier had specially made for the Duke of York in 1936. Later, after he became George VI, the tiara became a gift that he gave to his wife; and later on, it further became the 18th birthday present for his daughter, Elizabeth II. Princess Margaret, younger sister of the Queen of the United Kingdom, and Princess Anne, the Queen’s daughter, have also both worn the Halo tiara. On the other hand, the Lotus Flower Tiara that Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge wore at her first state banquet was made in 1923 by British jeweler Garrard, which was originally owned by the Queen of Great Britain and was later gifted to Princess Margaret by the Queen. The other well-known Cambridge Lover’s Knot Tiara was exclusively made for Mary, Queen of Scots and was also created by Garrard. Princesses of Great Britain and Ireland have all worn it before, but the most memorable appearance would be when Princess Diana wore the tiara at her wedding. Not only in the Western royal families, tiaras can also be seen in Oriental royal families during major events. Mikimoto, for instance, was entrusted by the Imperial House of Japan to custom-make the tiara for the Showa Emperor’s grand wedding between 1923 and 1924. These tiaras that would only appear at the grandest national banquets and weddings are more often representing a prestigious status, glory and inheritance.
Chaumet, who has been enjoying the reputation as ”Master of Tiara,” on the other hand, has established its authoritative status after creating tiaras for Napoleon, Empress Joséphine, and Empress Marie Louise during the reign of Napoleon I. Over the last two centuries, Chaumet has made more than three thousand tiara headpieces. Earlier, Chaumet’s ”Chaumet in Majesty” exhibition held in Monaco not only exhibited the brand’s long history of tiara making, traces of transformation with regards to the tiaras’ social status and design following its evolution over time could also be observed.
The use of tiaras during the roaring and glamorous 1920’s showed a more dramatic change. As the old era was long gone, tiaras were no longer exclusively reserved for royalties and nobilities – they became bedaz-zling fashion accessories. Moreover, it was also the crossing point of the Art Nouveau and Art Deco movements, when jewelry design and ways of wearing the pieces were presented with an unprecedented energetic vitality. Aesthetic creations that integrated natural elements coexisted with decorative art blended with geometric shapes. Women living in that blissful era of endless parties chose mostly to wear uniquely designed hairbands or tiaras to attend the various kinds of activities and occasions.
Today, tiaras have further become popular center pieces at different events; from dinner banquets, balls, to fantasy weddings that compete for their grandeur and solemnity, tiaras can be seen everywhere. Many people would love to search for rare antique tiaras at major auctions, which may be for their own collections or for family inheritance. In recent years, many brands have launched many tiara pieces that are of exquisite craftsmanship and with designs that better reflect contemporary aesthetics. Besides the brands that possess a long history of tiara making, including Cartier, Chaumet, and Garrard, celebrated jewelry brands such as Bulgari, Mikimoto, and Graff have all also launched their tiara creations. Contemporary tiaras are more diverse in terms of their design varieties, which may be intricate, elegant or simplistic. Some brands, to enhance the practicality for wearing the tiaras, have made the centerpiece diamond of a tiara to be removable. In some cases, the whole tiara can even be transformed into different pieces of accessories, thereby exhibit-ing the many graceful forms and appearances of a tiara. For this generation, tiaras are no longer exclusively for the royalties and nobilities to wear, they have further become the best token of love, besides the diamond rings, offering witness to vows for loved ones. Through all these times, tiaras are still what women regard as the ultimate symbol for fulfilling their dreams to become a princess.