The sparkler was commissioned from Garrard in 1913/1914 by Queen Mary, Queen Consort of King George V, using jewels she already had in her possession. Mary wanted to have a tiara created based on the design of her maternal godmother Princess Augusta of Hesse, The Duchess of Cambridge's 'Lover's Knot Tiara', whence comes the name. The original was a striking piece, but back then, lover's knot bows were very popular and there were several similar ones made.
The characteristics of Mary's tiara are very interesting; because it was based on the original Lover's Knot Tiara, it shows features of Gothic Revival style. The circle of the Cambridge Lover's Knot Tiara is made up of a lower semi-circular band, set with a row of brilliant cut diamonds. Where two adjacent arches meet a pillar like structure is formed that rises up and ends in a round diamond, forming a diamond spike. There are nineteen diamond spikes of this nature and the size gradually decreases from the centre towards both ends.
Swinging pearls add a romantic edge to the tiara, and they could be dismantled - something Queen Mary did frequently. Below we see Mary wearing the tiara with upright pearls attached, after her death it was never worn that way again.
After Mary died in 1953, and the tiara passed to Queen Elizabeth II who wore it on a number of occasions in the early 1950's but The Queen decided to put it into storage, electing to wear only her favourites which we still see today.
|Tiara Day Discussion|
In 1981, the day before Prince Charles married Lady Diana Spencer, Her Majesty gave her new daughter-in-law a red leather box; inside lay the tiara. According to various media outlets young Diana exclaimed: "I have Brenda's rocks", referring to a nickname the British press had given The Queen.
Diana did not wear the tiara for her wedding day, instead selecting her family tiara, the lighter-weight Spencer tiara. The two would become her 'go-to' tiaras throughout her time as Princess of Wales.
Princess Diana wore the tiara both at home and abroad for an array of engagements and it completed many of her most iconic looks.
However, the Princess found it quite heavy and headache inducing - reportedly the reason she reverted to her family tiara so often.
Following Charles and Diana's divorced in 1996 the tiara was returned to The Queen. When Diana vacated her title she was able to keep personal gifts but not official ones and as the tiara was and is part of The Queen's Collection it was classed as official.
I think you'll agree she didn't need the tiara to shine or command attention wherever she went. A topic for another post, but I always wonder how her public role would have developed and what influence she would have continued to have for charitable organisations.
The tiara has remained in the vault since. When will it be worn next and most importantly by who? Some speculate The Duchess of Cambridge will be given it when she becomes Princess of Wales, although the piece is so heavily associated with her late mother-in-law, I'm inclined to doubt it. Also, Kate favours smaller, simpler jewellery. Harry's future wife is definitely a possibility although the same comparisons would exist. Perhaps it won't get another outing until the next generation of royals grow up. A future daughter of William or Harry? Prince George's future wife? Too far in the future to contemplate but this royal blogger believes it will be some time before it's seen again.