Tiaras and crowns

Conch pearl and diamond tiara

Offered in Spring 2015 Dupuis Fine Jewels Auction

Tiara: A Jeweller’s Crowning Achievement

Exceptional antique diamond tiara

Antique with Diamonds, Offered at Dupuis Spring 2008 Auction, Sold for $230,000

Once in a rare while, a tiara becomes available to the auction bidder. Tiaras are the essence of elegance, and always turn a gathering into an event. They convert a dance into a ball, the downtrodden Cinderella into Prince Charming’s sweetheart (snow-white horses, a golden carriage and glass slippers help, too).

Moon stone tiara, Circa 1900

Antique, With Moonstones, Sold in the Dupuis Fall 2011 Jewels Auction

A tiara is a crown worn high on the head, and usually has a semi-circular shape. Tiaras have been worn, in one form or another, for thousands of years, but the 19th century produced some of the most beautiful and ornate of these jewels. The finest tiaras are decorated with gems mounted in precious metal.

Diamond Flower tiara

Victorian Flower Form with  Diamonds, Sold in the Dupuis Spring 2005 Jewels Auction

Royal heads around the world are regularly adorned with tiaras for special events and public appearances. Similarly, women with a complete and elegant jewellery wardrobe have a tiara for special occasions. However, even royalty may not wear a tiara every day, so we find it helpful to have a tiara that can be converted to other uses.

Small sapphire and diamond head top tiara

Set with Sapphire and Diamonds, Sold in the Dupuis Spring 2012 Auction

Many exquisite Victorian tiaras were convertible to necklace use, or could be taken apart to become earrings, bracelets, brooches, pendants (with additional fittings), greatly expanding their function in the owner’s jewel collection. Originally, these jewels would have been mounted in fitted boxes, sadly these boxes are often lost to history.

Modern reproduction ruby, diamond and sapphire tiara

Ruby, Sapphire and Diamond Tiara, Sold in the Dupuis January 2008 Jewels Auction

A charming use of a convertible tiara is to wear it on your head at a dinner, and wear the same jewel as a necklace at the dance afterwards. It won’t fall off while you’re dancing.

The tiara in the Dupuis Spring 2015 auction is adorned with diamonds and pearls, and it features a very rare collection of beautiful pink conch pearls. With the original accompanying diamond-mounted attachment, it easily converts to an elegant and stunning necklace. The set is offered with the original fitted box.

If there is a tiara around, everyone wants to try it on. I certainly do.

IMG_2636 duncan tries on a tiara

Everyone wants to wear one


About Duncan Parker

Duncan Parker, FGA, FCGmA, CAP (CJA), Vice President. Duncan is a columnist and contributor for industry magazines and journals. He has been an instructor of the gemstone course at Ryerson University, the Gemmology courses of George Brown College and Canadian Gemmological Association as well as instructor Master Valuer Program with the Canadian Jewellers Association. A renowned expert, he speaks regularly at international gem and jewellery conferences and symposiums, as well as at less formal events. He has served as President of the Canadian Gemmological Association since 1995. Before joining Dupuis Auctioneers, Duncan was a director of research at Harold Weinstein Ltd., a leading and respected jewellery appraisal company.
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