Bridgerton fever has well and truly taken hold again with the release of the second series of the Netflix hit – and while many will be watching the show for its romantic, escapist storylines, there’s no denying that the series holds a definite aesthetic appeal thanks to its fantastical Regency-era costumes and sparkling jewels. In fact, the new season has prompted a spike in interest in one particular statement-making item: the tiara.
As seen on the likes of Phoebe Dynevor’s Daphne and Simone Ashley’s Kate, glittering tiaras are a key part of Bridgerton looks, and are as carefully considered as the rest of the wardrobe. In season one, the principal characters’ tiaras were borrowed from the Swarovski archive, while others were sourced from dealers in New York, Italy and the UK. The show also has its own artisan jewellery designer, Lorenzo Mancianti, who has handmade pieces for the show throughout seasons one and two. To date he has created nearly 400 sets of gems, including matching necklaces, earrings and bracelets, as well as tiaras, according to Town & Country.
Such has our interest in the piece piqued, that London-based jeweller Susannah Lovis reported a 300 per cent spike in searches for tiaras following the return of the show last Friday. Her boutique, which features a selection of antique jewellery, is located in Mayfair’s Burlington Arcade (itself a Regency-era piece of architecture).
“While I have always loved the romance of a tiara, they are usually one of our lesser requested styles,” she said, “so I was shocked to see how much interest they were suddenly receiving over the weekend, both in store and on the website.”
Of course, Bridgerton isn’t the only event this year that has everyone in a regal state of mind; the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee takes place in June, celebrating Her Majesty’s 70th anniversary on the throne. Tiaras are most commonly associated with royals, with antique pieces being passed down from generation to generation, and younger royals – such as the Duchesses of Cambridge and Sussex – wearing them in a more contemporary way.
While the royals often wear tiaras for formal events and state dinners, they are also particularly popular for royal weddings (despite not being an official requirement), with royal brides considered some of the most influential when it comes to wedding inspiration. Kate Middleton wore the Cartier Halo tiara to become the Duchess of Cambridge in 2011, and the piece is now considered one of the most famous tiaras in recent memory. For her wedding to Prince Harry in 2018, Meghan Markle wore Queen Mary’s diamond bandeau tiara, which was loaned to her by the Queen.
“When it came to the tiara on the day, I was very fortunate to be able to chose this gorgeous art deco style bandeau tiara,” the duchess explained when the piece went on display as part of the couple’s royal wedding exhibition at Buckingham Palace. “Harry and I had gone to Buckingham Palace to meet with Her Majesty the Queen to select one of the options that were there which was an incredibly surreal day as you can imagine… I think it was just perfect because it was so clean and simple – [it was] an extension of what Clare [Waight Keller] and I had been trying to do with the dress – which was have something that could be so incredibly timeless but still feel modern.”
Designers have long been influenced by royalty, with tiaras and bejewelled headpieces appearing regularly on catwalks and in fashion editorials over the years. Perhaps most recently, Gucci took over Hollywood Boulevard for its ‘Love Parade’ show in November 2021, with countless models hitting the runway wearing tiaras. The collection, created by Alessandro Michele to celebrate the brand’s 100th anniversary, was a celebration of old Hollywood-inspired glamour – with an undeniably Gucci twist.
Elsewhere, Simone Rocha has become known for her enchanting, ethereal headpieces, creating a modern take on the traditional tiara. Her headbands and hair accessories often feature pearls, beading and gemstones, constructed in unusual and unexpected ways, and are particularly popular with brides and those shopping for a special occasion. Crowns, tiaras and statement-making bejewelled headpieces are also regular features on the Dolce & Gabbana catwalk, in keeping with the label’s more-is-more aesthetic.
The tiara is also a popular red-carpet accessory, selected by stylists looking to add an extra sparkling something to a celebrity look. The Met Gala, in particular, is known for its headline-making headpieces, being an event where there is no such thing as ‘too much’. While designers use headwear as an opportunity to be creative and fit to the annual theme, it’s also a way for stars to stand out among the sea of other A-listers; there’s no other red carpet which provides guests with such an opportunity to really dress up and have fun with fashion.
With Gucci’s recent reincarnation of the tiara placing it firmly in the ‘cool’ category once more, the piece is now being paired with more low-key, everyday outfits, and starting to crop up among the street style set. Italian influencer Chiara Ferragni was recently seen wearing hers out in Milan during fashion week, sitting her Gucci version atop her tousled, messy waves.
While there are many options for fashion headpieces available to buy online, you might assume that shopping for fine jewellery tiaras would be reserved for in-store appointments only. However, that’s not necessarily the case. Net-a-Porter stocks delicate diamond tiaras by Garrard – which has made many of the royal family’s tiaras and was the official Crown jeweller for 160 years – including the white gold and diamond ‘Beatrice’ style, and the white gold, aquamarine and diamond ‘Catherine’ tiara.
From Harper’s Bazaar UK