Saturday, May 25, 2013

Mastery of Design: The Cambridge Lovers Knot Tiara

The Cambridge Lover's Knot Tiara, as it has been since 1910
Crown Copyright
The Royal Collection

The original tiara, 1818
on Princess Augusta of Hesse-Kassel

Queen Mary is often depicted wearing her most fabulous jewels—and she had a lot of them, a lot. One of the most frequently worn pieces in which she’s pictured is a fantastic tiara of diamonds and pearls. This is the Cambridge Lovers Knot Tiara and it was Queen Mary’s favorite.
The tiara that Queen Mary often wore was not the original Cambridge Lovers Knot Tiara, but one that she had created for her in 1913 from diamonds and pearls in her own existing collection.

Growing up as Princess May, Mary had often admired her grandmother’s tiara—the original Cambridge Lovers Knot Tiara. This had been a gift to Mary’s grandmother, Princess Augusta of Hesse-Kassel upon her marriage to the Duke of Cambridge. Upon her death, Princess Augusta passed the tiara on to her daughter Princess Augusta of Cambridge, the Grand Duchess of Mecklenburg . The Grand Duchess, sister of Mary’s mother, was one of Queen Mary’s closest friends. She often loaned the tiara to Queen Mary. However, after the Duchess’ death, the tiara was removed from the family through a long and complicated series of events which are too difficult to recount here.

The original tiara on
Augusta, Grand Duchess of Mecklenburg
Queen Mary never forgot about that beloved tiara and in 1913 commissioned Garrard’s to create a duplicate based on paintings and photos. The one difference between the new version and the original is that the upper tier of pearl and diamond “spikes” could be removed and worn as various other pieces of jewelry. Queen Mary wore the tiara (with and without its upper tier) for the remainder of her life, bequeathing it to her granddaughter, Queen Elizabeth II.

Queen mary in the New 1914 Tiara
(with spikes)
Queen Mary in the new tiara
(without spikes)

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