Thursday, 6 February 2014

Tiara Time: Princess Grace's Van Cleef & Arpels Tiara

In tonight's Tiara Time, we look at a piece worn by one of my all-time favourite royals - the eternally beautiful - Princess Grace of Monaco. Whilst researching the late Princess's tiaras I was interested to note just how small her collection was and the fact it didn't include pieces from her mother-in-law Princess Charlotte's collection. It is very much believed Charlotte didn't approve of Grace, thus she chose not to loan her tiaras from the Grimaldi collection. As far as I can tell her jewels were given to Princess Caroline and are currently in her possession. I will say, from the perspective of a royal fan, it is a crying shame we didn't see Grace with a more significant collection and an opportunity to wear heirlooms.

Given the circumstances, Grace was forced to build her own collection comprising gifts, personal purchases and loans from jewellers, which brings us to tonight's tiara - the Van Cleef & Arpels tiara.

Van Cleef & Arpels

Van Cleef & Arpels have been designing high-end jewellery since 1906 and the brand had a wonderful relationship, not only with Princess Grace, but also Prince Rainier, who purchased a jewellery set in diamond and pearls from the jewellers to mark his engagement to Grace in 1956.

Van Cleef & Arpels

The dazzling piece was made in 1976 and is described as a 'diadem in platinum set with round, marquise and pear-shaped diamonds, weighing 77.34 carats'. Originally a necklace, it also transforms into a tiara. Grace wore it just once, for the pre-wedding ball celebrating Princess Caroline's marriage to Philippe Junot in 1978.

Order of Splendor

The tiara is still owned by Van Cleef & Arpels and is regularly featured in exhibits around the world.

Van Cleef & Arpels

The tiara made the headlines in 2012 when it was announced it would feature in a new adaptation of Snow White, Mirror Mirror. It caught the eye of the movie's production team whilst on display at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum exhibition "Set in Style: The Jewellery of Van Cleef & Arpels". Below we see the piece as worn by Julia Roberts who played the evil queen.

Actress Lily Collins (daughter of Phil) played Snow White and also wore it.

A very interesting piece with an incredibly history. No doubt it shall pop up again in the near future!


  1. rose from Brooklyn7 February 2014 at 01:17

    Oh wow gosh!! U r sooooo knowledgeable! !! 3 cheers to u for all ur hard work and research that go into each update!! We do not take it for granted! !!

  2. bluhare in Washington State7 February 2014 at 01:55

    Gorgeous!! I would really like to see how it looks as a necklace. A 77 carat necklace.

    1. Yes, 77 is a nice round number, isn't it, bluhare. LOL.

      I think it's stunning. How fantastic would this look on Kate?! With an up-do. Definitely an up-do. It has the height I like...not too much, but definitely not invisible.

    2. bluhare in Washington State7 February 2014 at 17:15

      Personally, royalfan, I think that necklace would look much nicer on me, but perhaps I'm biased.

    3. bluhare......... you and me both! :)

    4. I would worry constantly that I would lose it! :D Well, maybe not with several armed guards around a lot of hair pins ;0)

  3. I love princess grace what a interesting post thank you Charlotte

  4. Love the tiaras. What a great story. Amazing Grace borrowed a tiara to wear to Caroline's wedding. ball. You think in some place with the wealth of Monaco, Prince Rainier could have bought her a proper tiara of her own. I don't think Grace wore one to her wedding now I think about it.

    Love the feature on Princess Mary. What an absolutely stunning dress. What a pity Kate won't have a chance to wear de la Renta. He has wonderful designs. The royal ladies of Europe seem able to wear what they wish. I suppose there are fewer local designers to consider.

    Not quite so sure about Maxima. She has had her share of fashion faux pas, much like our Kate and this dress seems a bit heavy. Love the blue colour though, much better than the brown and love the brooch at the waist. A gorgeous piece of jewellery. How odd the men are wearing ties and the women in formal gowns but I love it any time the royal ladies put on their finery,

    Fantastic blog, Charlotte. Look forward to more.

    1. You are correct, Grace did not wear a tiara at her wedding. Perhaps because she was not yet a Princess. The Juliet cap that she wore was exquisite and unique though. Just such beautiful things designed by Helen Rose for Grace!!
      Rainier was very thoughtful and if she had wanted a tiara, I absolutely believe he would have bought her one -- what about the diamond and ruby tiara, didn't that belong to her? (Back to my zillion photos now! :0))

  5. Thank you all so much for commenting. I've been a fan of 'Grace Kelly' movies since I can remember and thoroughly enjoy researching posts about her :)

  6. I had a chance to join some girlfriends and visit an exhibit at the Michener Art Museum in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, a little town north of Philadelphia. "From Philadelphia to Monaco: Grace Kelly Beyond the Icon" displayed a range of her outfits and other artifacts, from her movie days (the gown she wore to accept her Oscar, sadly faded from the years but stunning) through her trousseau and into the 80s. So many of those clothes look like they could be worn today and still remain fresh and current.

    While Princess Grace donated her formal wedding dress to the Philadelphia Art Museum soon after the ceremony, it was deemed too fragile to move to this exhibit. We did see her outfit for the civil ceremony, as well as glorious ball gowns and regalia over the years.

    Many of her wedding/trousseau clothes were designed and made by the fashion designer Helen Rose and her team at the MGM movie house. My favorite piece: an x ray of her wedding shoes, showing the penny sewn into the structure--for good luck!

    The exhibit closed on January 26 here in the US. I believe the same exhibit was at the Victoria & Albert Museum in 2010 and then in Australia in 2012. Not sure where it may go next, but well worth a visit if you are nearby.

    Thanks Charlotte for all your work on each blog, I enjoy them all so much, best,
    Terry in New Jersey

  7. Hi Charlotte and everyone,

    There is a very nice little bit on the queen I saw on the weekly round up on the Royal Jeweller blog. It is about the queen wearing a brooch that she was given in Saskatchewan last year. What makes it interesting is the excitment of the jeweller about her brooch being worn. Really sweet and a lovely piece of jewellery. It would be fun to have a posting on the queen's brooches. They are so much a part of her appearance.

  8. Grace's borrowed tiara reminds me of that great line she says in one of my favorite movies, To Catch a Thief.

    When she is teasing Cary Grant about her diamond necklace, he says "It's imitation" and she hits back with "But I'm not!"

    So the tiara may have been borrowed but Grace was very much a true princess.

  9. Would it be appropriate to mention here some of the Cartier Jewelry made for Princess Grace ...just released in new video for you to see.

  10. I am so often reminded of how very good Grace was for Monaco, and especially for Prince Rainier, who had such a sad childhood and became a wonderful father and husband. He was never shown love, he was sent away to school... so when he married, he'd had no example of a happy family. Evidenced in part by how Grace was "received" by Charlotte and "Tiny" (Antoinette, Rainier's sister). In a family that has reigned as long as the Grimaldis have in Monaco, there should have been quite a collection of jewelry, and yet nothing was passed down to Grace (Caroline did receive a tiara once owned by her paternal Grandmother though, I have a memory of her wearing it and a *beautiful* blue dress in a photo with her Casiraghi family). I do wonder if there was lost or stolen jewels, I know the only crown of Monaco was stolen ages ago and never replaced.

    Anyway, just thinking about all of that again. Someone from Prince Rainier's family did give Grace a tiara, I have so much info about Grace and Rainier in my brain, I can't recall who, I'll have to look it up. Anyway, I believe it was a wedding gift.

    I think Grace was OK without a lot of luxurious things, although of course she dressed beautifully and wore couture. She always looked like one would imagine a Princess to look, even before she wed. She was so very special and still so missed. As is Rainier.
    Princess Charlene I believe also has a tiara that becomes a necklace, can anyone help me with that? The jewelry Albert II had made for her is just stunning, I especially *loved* the sort of "headband" with the spray on the side that she wore to the reception after the wedding. Perfectly modern and timeless!

    It is so nice to see people still adore Grace and enjoy talking about her and these things. When I first looked her up on the Internet in 1994, there was not one web site about her! I found one photo and decided I would begin delving into her life more and create a page. I had so much info and no HTML knowledge back then, was asked to write a book, then was ill and couldn't. If people would be interested, I would love to share what I have on a Blog site. There is so much bad or confusing info, I would love to show some truths -- especially since I know this new film which Nicole Kidman has called fiction but will of course be seen as some as fact, the "Grace of Monaco" picture, coming out soon, there will be new people learning things that are just terribly incorrect -- to anyone wanting to learn about Her Serene Highness.

    I almost gagged when I saw at a web site that "officially" answers all questions, a so-called "Pro" said "Grace's title after marriage was 'Princess Grace Patricia Kelly Grimaldi'. Criiiinge! :)

    OK, back to translating for me. All french words are starting to look just the same to me this morning! :) Sorry for the rambling, I get lost in all of this and just go on and on!


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