Friday, January 25, 2013

Mastery of Design: The Indian Tiara, pre-1901

Delhi Durbar Tiara
Crown Copyright
The Royal Collection
Image Courtesy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

Rubies, diamonds and pearls scintillate from the twelve gold, tear-shaped sections of this tiara.  The sections rise from a band of gold and pearls.

In true Indian style of the Nineteenth Century, the reverse of the twelve crests are adorned with portraits of enamel liked by a foliate pattern of brilliant colors.

Made in India for Queen Victoria, this tiara signifies Her Majesty's role as Empress of India.  Though Victoria did not attend her Delhi Durbar, the ceremony wherein she was named Empress, she did receive this magnificent piece as a symbol of this accession.  

After Victoria's death, the tiara was hidden away.  Successive Queens Alexandra and Mary wore different tiaras, Mary especially having one created for her own Durbar.  However, it was Queen Mary who saw that this treasure was not adapted or changed, a fate which often befell such pieces.  Mary, in 1924, saw that the tiara was placed among the Indian Collection which belongs to the Crown as part of the Royal Collection.  Because of this, the tiara has been restored and, as of 2013, is on display at the Queen's Gallery at Buckingham Palace.

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