In Defense of the Tiara – Sofia’s Wedding Tiara

This week we’re talking about the newest addition to the Swedish vaults – Princess Sofia’s Wedding Tiara.

I hear you…it’s not technically a fringe, but definitely fringe adjacent.

The History

Sofia Hellqvist received this tiara from her future in-laws on the occasion of her marriage to Prince Carl Philip of Sweden on June 13, 2015. It was reported that the tiara was originally a necklace which was a gift for Queen Silvia from a Thai prince. Sils sent the necklace to a Thai jeweler to be transformed into a tiara for her future daughter-in-law.

The tiara is a series of graduated palmette motifs, originally topped with pear shaped emeralds. Sofia, true to her new family’s jewel loving roots, she has been re-configuring her tiara since she received it. The first step was opening the base, so it sat more comfortably on her head. Then she removed the emeralds and wore the tiara without toppers, and then replaced the emeralds with pearls.

The Case for the Tiara

LiL: I’m going to jump in here with a like. I wasn’t sold on it at her wedding, or for it’s first appearance or two after, but since the adjustments? *chef’s kiss* I think it’s perfect for her. It also helps knowing that Sils spreads the tiara love, so she isn’t saddled with it for life, unlike poor Marie over there in Denmark appears to be with hers. I wonder if we’ll see any of the other princesses take it for a spin?

OC: I’m in the definitely not a fringe camp. Regardless, I don’t mind this tiara one bit, especially when it’s more fanned out. The pearls are my preferred version.

LG: I’m with LIL and OC on this one. The original was ok, but the way it perched on Sofia’s head was not great; I actually kept hoping it wouldn’t fall off during the wedding! The redesign though…right up my tiara loving alley. The more open design fits her much better, and being able to switch out the jewels on top, always a win!

The Handbag: I probably should work up an against comment since I am the last one in. I just…can’t. I don’t know if it’s the charm of its owner, or the message sent by her in laws with the gift, or the versatility of the piece itself, but I quite like it. Of course, it’s no wall. But it’s a pretty thing.

The Case against the Tiara


How do you feel about Sofia's Tiara?

In Defense of the Tiara – The Baden Fringe

Ok, it’s that time. I’ve taken on some of your favorite tiaras in this series (sorry, still don’t like the Girls…). It’s time to put my all time fave on the line – The Baden Fringe Tiara.

You knew I’d pick a photo with Big Red.

The History

This tiara traveled to Sweden in 1881 with the first Princess Victoria, a wedding present from her parents, Grand Duke Friedrich I and Grand Duchess Louise of Baden. Victoria married Crown Prince Gustaf on September 20 in Karlsruhe. The tiara is made up of 47 diamond rays, with smaller spikes in between the larger rays. As with most fringes, it is also designed to be worn as a necklace, which Victoria of Baden did on her wedding day, but the current Swedish ladies have kept it in tiara form.

The Case for the Tiara

LG: To me this is perfection. The diamond design of the fringes to look like rays of sunlight, to the smaller spikes in between filling up the negative space at the bottom of the diamond. The difference in height between the front and the back makes it fun for the Swedish hairdressers (who are amazing) to play with, and just how far it wraps around the head. It’s the first thing I think of when someone says “tiara.”

LiL: I’m going to hop on here with you, even though it’s not my favorite fringe tiara by a long shot. I said the other day that I like my fringes to be just this side of lethal, and this one has always reminded me of the faces drawn onto the airplanes during WWII. You know, with the teeth? All lethal looking? No?

The Handbag: It’s perfectly fine for a fringe that isn’t a WALL OF DIAMONDS THAT YOU WEAR ON YOUR HEAD.

The Case against the Tiara

OC: It’s too solid. It’s too angular. Nope. I can’t even pretend to like this tiara. I love it.

How do you feel about the Baden Fringe Tiara?

What do you guys think?

If you like Swedish fringes, stick around. We’ve got something fun coming up…


In Defense of the Tiara – Alex’s Kokoshnik

To round out a thoroughly British week here at the Handbag, lets discuss another of Queen Elizabeth II’s favorite tiaras – Queen Alexandra’s Diamond Kokoshnik Tiara.

The History

This tiara was created for Queen Alexandra, wife of King Edward VII and daughter-in-law of Queen Victoria, in 1888 for Edward and Alexandra’s 25th anniversary. It was designed at Alex’s request after a tiara of her sister’s, Empress Marie Feodorovna of Russia (born Princess Dagmar of Denmark, and mother of the future Nicholas II). The tiara was a gift of The Ladies of Society, a collection of the 365 peeresses of the realm.

The tiara was created by Garrard, and was made of 61 platinum bars containing 488 diamonds, the largest two weighing in at 3.25 carats each. Upon Alex’s death in 1928, the tiara passed to Queen Mary, and then to Elizabeth II upon Mary’s passing in 1953.

The Case for the Tiara

The Handbag: It’s a wall of diamonds. A WALL OF DIAMONDS THAT YOU WEAR ON YOUR HEAD. I rest my case.

The Case against the Tiara

LG: While I appreciate a straight up wall of diamonds on someone’s head, the bars of this one remind me of popsicle sticks on a good day, and tongue depressors on a bad one.

LiL: I have to agree with LG. This is just too clunky/chunky/ ice-lolly-sticky for me. Zero personality.

OC: Unimaginative but I can’t deny the sparkle.


What do you think of Alexandra's Kokoshnik

In Defense of the Tiara – Modern Gold Tiara

After yesterday’s fun with orange jewels (thanks OC!!), we’re heading up to Scandinavia for this installment, taking a trip into Norway’s vault for the Modern Gold Tiara.

This was a gift to Queen Sonja from King Harald in 1997 for her 60th birthday. It’s designed as strips of gold, with diamonds interspersed and an interchangeable gem at the center. The original version had orange stones at the center; later both green tourmalines and diamonds have made an appearance.

The Case For the Tiara

OC: The last few times I’ve seen photos, the grooves reminded me of stacked wood, which made me then think of boats, and then Vikings. Couldn’t get more Norway than that, right? Even that central motif could be seen as a sail. Now, excuse me while I go take an anti-inflammatory tablet as that was a BIG stretch.

The Case Against the Tiara

LiL: No. Should I say more? Ok. Hells no. IT’S A WATCH BAND. I hope M-M loses this one at the bottom of the jewelery case.

LG: I am all for adding new tiaras to the vaults, but this one reminds me of an 80s Timex watch band. I could maybe get behind the diamond version…maybe…if it was all that was left and I had to pick something.

The Handbag: For once I am wordless. Or almost so. NO.

What do you guys think?

How do you feel about the Modern Gold Tiara?

In Defense of the Tiara – Khedive Tiara

Next up in our series is one of the most famous wedding tiaras in the world: The Khedive of Egypt Tiara.

Another story that is well known to most royal watchers; this one starts it’s royal journey in Sweden. Gifted to Princess Margaret of Connaught (granddaughter of Queen Victoria) by the Khedive of Egypt, upon her wedding to Crown Prince Gustaf Adolf of Sweden. Why a present from the Khedive? Gustaf Adolf and Margaret met, and were engaged in Egypt!

Sadly, Margaret did not live to become Queen of Sweden, and the tiara passed to her daughter Ingrid upon her death. When Ingrid married Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark in 1935, she brought her mother’s tiara with her. Ingrid was quite generous with the tiara, loaning it to both Princess Margaretha of Denmark (sister of Crown Princess Martha of Norway and Queen Astrid of Belgium) and to Princess Margaretha of Sweden (her niece).

It’s most well known as the bridal tiara of the Danish and Greek Royal families. It was first used as a bridal tiara by Princess Anne Marie of Denmark upon her marriage to King Constantine II of Greece. It has also been worn by all the other royal women descended from Queen Ingrid on their wedding days: Margrethe, Benedikte, Alexia, Alexandra and Nathalie. We’ll see if Theodora continues this tradition with her wedding next year.

See the other post from today for photos of the brides with the various iterations of the Khedive.

The Case for the Tiara

LG: I love this one, always have; although I don’t like the base AM added, but that’s a quibble. It can read a bit one-dimensional in photos, but seems to come to life when it’s worn. Hopefully Theodora carries on the tradition, and this tiara makes it’s way back home to Denmark one day.

The Handbag: Oh, I wish I had a definitive yes or no for you but I vacillate so much on this. In that top photo above, it’s glorious. It looks great on Anne Marie at her wedding, all nestled down in her hair. It did not win my heart when Nathalie wore it in 2011 – that new frame makes it float oddly above the wearer’s heads. However, I am giving out points for history and continuity, and this makes it fall in the win column.

OC: Symmetry plus history plus bridal tradition plus universal awesomeness of diamonds? SO TWEE! Who am I kidding?? Not a thing wrong with this piece or the way it is traditionally used. LiL makes an excellent point below, though.

The Case against the Tiara

LiL: I wish I could put my finger on the exact reason I don’t care for this tiara. Is it because of all of the swirlies? Maybe. I think my main reason is it’s one dimensional look. It looks “flat”. No depth to it at all. Like it’s made out of tinfoil.

Ok guys, what do you think?

How do you feel about the Khedive Tiara?
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