Tiara Tales – Princess Aiko’s Twentieth Birthday Tiara

Thank you to Baguette Avery for the information on Princess Aiko’s birthday events (in the first paragraphs) and to Tiara Mania for the catalog of Japanese tiaras. Without both this post would not be here! If you are interested in who all these Princesses are, here is the Imperial Family tree.

From our Baguette Avery:

Aiko, Princess Toshi, turns twenty on December 1, 2021. As per Japanese custom, she will receive a parure, including a tiara. It was previously reported the Imperial House Agency (IHA) did not budget funds for Aiko’s 20th birthday parure, citing budget reasons due to the pandemic. Her tiara will either be paid from the Imperial family’s living expenses fund, or she will reuse an existing tiara.

The Imperial House Agency (IHA) announced initial plans:

– Ceremonies are moved to December 5 (Sunday) to avoid interfering with her university classes.
– Aiko will worship at the Three Palace Sanctuaries in the morning and receive the Order of the Precious Crown.
– She will formally greet Their Majesties in the afternoon, wearing her new-to-her tiara and order.
– She will also visit Emperor Emeritus Akihito and Empress Emerita Michiko.
– Celebrations such as dinner parties are postponed due to the pandemic.
– Her birthday press conference is undecided, could be in January
– Aiko is expected to attend 2022 New Year Receptions as her first official public activity.

Let’s review her tiara options.

New Tiara

If she does receive a new tiara, it will be paid for from the family’s own household funds. Since the Imperial Family adopted a style of western dress in the late nineteenth century, it has been the custom for their tiaras to be all white. The family’s tiaras typically contain diamonds and/or pearls set in platinum/white gold, with no color gemstones.

A new tiara would likely be made by Mikimoto. This design house produced tiaras worn by Princesses Chichibu, Kako, and Ayako – among others. You can review some of Mikimoto’s designs here. Japanese jeweler Wako has also received the commission for some family jewelry, including Princess Mako’s tiara.

Princess Kako’s 20th birthday tiara, by Mikimoto.

Meiji Scroll Stars

If a tiara is designed from the vaults of the IHA, there is quite a bit of raw material there. Do you suppose Aiko will receive something with some stars? The Meiji Scroll, currently worn by Empress Masako, at one time had star toppers. Do you think they will be repurposed for the Princess?

Princess Ayako’s Diamond Wreath Tiara

Princess Ayako received this wreath tiara in 2010, for her twentieth birthday. Made by Mikimoto, it was returned to the Imperial Household Agency in 2018 upon her marriage.

Princess Chichibu’s Pearl Drop Tiara

Princess Chichibu died in 1995, and her Pearl Drop Tiara has not been seen since. It is unknown if it was returned to the IHA, or if it has been quietly sold. The tiara was made by Mikimoto.

Princess Mako’s Diamond Tiara

As most royal watchers know, Princess Mako was recently married and has left the Imperial family. We have not heard about the whereabouts of her tiara. The tiara was made by Wako and presented to her in 2011 on her twentieth birthday. It’s probably a bit too soon to see it again, but it is a pretty piece.

Princess Nori’s Diamond Tiara

This tiara was made by Mikimoto in 1989 and returned to the IHA in 2005 when the Princess married and retired from royal life.

Princess Noriko’s Wave Tiara

Made by Mikimoto, this wave tiara was presented to the Princess on her twentieth birthday in 2008. It was returned to Imperial Household Agency in 2014 when she married and left royal duties.

Princess Takamatsu’s Diamond Floral Tiara and Diamond Fringe Tiaras

Princess Takamatsu died in 2004, and two tiaras in her possession were assumed to have returned to the IHA. The Diamond Floral was made by Mikimoto and can be seen in the first photo on the left. The Diamond Fringe was a convertible necklace and is seen around her neck in the left photo, and as a tiara in the right photo.

State Your Preference!