Like every little girl, I love to play ‘princess’ in my childhood. Wearing a beautiful princess dress and of course a tiara. And to finish it properly my brother is my staff in my play taking care that I am comfortable. A few weeks ago I visit a great exhibition about the Russian jewels in Amsterdam. There I discover that wearing a tiara is no fun at all!

Tiara made of pearls, diamonds, gold, silver and turquoise.

Tiara made of pearls, diamonds, gold, silver and turquoise.

The word ‘tiara’ is used wrong.

The word ‘tiara’ comes from the Persian word ‘tara’. That is a high hat made of fabric or leather decorated with gold, silver, and gemstones. Kings and priests wear a hat like that and the design is used for the hat of the Pope. But royals don’t wear this kind of head decoration.

You call a hair decoration, made of gemstones, precious metals and pearls a ‘diadem’. Most of the royals wear it in their hair on special occasions. You use in English, the word ‘tiara’  for the hat of the clergy and kings. And for the hair jewelry of the queens and high-ranked ladies.

To make it easier for the English speaking readers in this blog post I use the word ‘tiara’ for the hair jewelry.

The tiara of Maria Fjodorovna

The tiara of Maria Fjodorovna

A tiara is beautiful but a burden.

The tiara has the function of a kind of crown for women. Men’s crowns are not elegant and it is important that the crown can be seen from a distance by the ordinary people. A crown is mostly worn only at the inauguration of the king (or queen when she is becoming the ‘head of state’).

A queen wants to show that she is a queen. And wants a crown or tiara that stands out in the crowd. That hair jewel is made of gold or silver, decorated with pearls and gemstones and is heavy, very heavy. It is a challenge to keep that tiara straight on your head. That takes a lot of pins to keep it in your hair. Some queens complain that those pins are real torture. And cause sometimes a severe headache.

In the Netherlands you have a phrase ‘wie mooi wil zijn, moet pijn lijden’ or in English ‘no pain, no gain’. Well wearing a tiara is the best example of ‘no pain, no gain’.

Embarrassing situations.

At the inauguration or crowning of King Edward VII, one of his guests wants to visit the bathroom. While she bends forward the tiara fall off her head and ended in the toilet. It takes a lot of trouble to get that very expensive piece of jewelry out of there. And after cleaning she joins the nobility to attend the crowning of the new king.

At most royal weddings, like the one of Harry and Megan, the bride has a very long train and veil, attached to the tiara. You have to be sure that all the fabric and the tiara itself stays on your head. It takes a lot of pins to stick the jewelry properly in the hair of the bride. Stephanie of Luxembourg, marrying the grand duke feels her tiara moving backward during her wedding day. Can you imagine how she feels at that moment?

Tiara made of a fabric base and decorated with beads

Tiara made of a fabric base and decorated with beads

It is not practical

My advice is to skip the tiara as a piece of jewelry you have to have. It is not comfortable and you don’t have to wear it. You are probably not a queen or high-ranked noblewoman. When you want to decorate your hair there are lovely hats and hairpieces decorated with flowers. And when you want to show off with gemstones and precious metals on your head, you better use a brooch on your head. Or… where gorgeous statement earrings.

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