This tiara was made in 1904 for Queen Margherita, at that time the Queen Mother of Italy. She had the court jeweler, Musy, create this tiara with gems from her personal collection to celebrate the birth of her grandson, the future King Umberto II.
Margherita was nicknamed the Pearl Queen due to her love of pearls, so it’s no surprise that her new tiara featured these stones. The pearl buttons sit on a scrolled base topped by diamond arches. But it doesn’t stop there, the buttons and arches are all removable.
When Margherita died in 1926, she left the tiara to Umberto, whose birth was the impetus behind it’s creation. Umberto’s new wife, Princess Marie José of Belgium wore the tiara for her wedding day, and managed to keep a hold of the tiara when the monarchy was abolished in 1946.
The tiara now resides with Umberto and Maria José’s son, Prince Vittorio Emanuele, The Prince of Naples, and is worn by his wife, Princess Marina.
The Case for the Tiara
OC: There are enough iterations of this piece that I am all for it. There are some really beautiful shell motifs and scrollwork. I’d love to see what their descendent Prince Dimitri could do with it.
LG: I’m all in for this one. Some of the versions aren’t the best, but there are so many others that you can skip the not great ones. And the full tiara is just breathtaking!
LiL: I like this one. Sure it’s a bit stiff, but I’ll take a tiara with Wonder-Twin Powers any day. “Form of a seashell!” “Shape of a curlycue!”
The Case against the Tiara
The Handbag: I do like the concept of convertibility. I just find all the iterations so intimidating. I don’t see any grace or prettiness here. I think there are possibilities, though, so I’ll give it a soft pass.