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Tiaras forever

Why have tiaras become so popular in the last ten years? Is it a desire for "bling" or is it every girl's desire to be a "princess" on her special day? Look on Google and you will find 4.2 million references for the word "tiara" alone. Each website for tiaras has as many as 100 different designs of all shapes and sizes, materials and colours, adorned with crystals, pearls, feathers etc. There seems to be a bewildering choice - almost everything apart from edible tiaras - but then I didn't look on too many American sites.

The V&A exhibition in London underlines the amazing durability and popularity of the tiara. With over 200 scintillating gem-set head ornaments on display, the exhibition is proving a huge hit. Thousands of fine diamonds worn by the likes of Victoria Beckham - and the Queen - are on display including the Oriental Circlet tiara designed by Prince Albert and worn by Queen Victoria, and more recently, the Queen Mother. Taking pride of place at the exhibition is the Diamond Tiara Russe that the Queen wore on her wedding day in 1947, a tribute to her reign. Not so long ago, many would have considered tiaras to be elitist - something for the Royal Family - and even then only on special occasions. Today's tiaras are less formal and less rigid in design, complimenting the hair and dress, rather than dominating like the old, heavy models worn by the crowned heads of Europe.

Now, tiaras seem so commonplace and so cheap that there must be factories in China churning out mass-produced tiaras because some of the leading websites are selling tiaras, allegedly silver, at £10 - £15. On the other hand, London wedding shops stock tiaras with their prices starting at £200. I spoke to several designers at a recent wedding fair in London who said there was no way they could make a silver tiara for as little as £10.

Their prices started at £40 for a simple basic model. Mostly the designers seemed to be concentrating on the "bespoke" end of the market for the more fussy brides-to-be who want something totally different for their wedding. So is the popularity of tiaras going to last? I suppose it will depend on the hairstyle of the day. Picture a tiara on a beehive! Not likely? You'd never find them! "I was 'coiffee' before dinner, with a lovely Diadem of diamonds and emeralds designed by my beloved Albert" Queen Victoria's journal, 25 April 1845.

Visit Zinnia Silver for a handmade Tiara or Wedding jewellery


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