It’s a new year (thank goodness!) and what better way to kick things off than with a nice, sparkly post? I’ve been on a Russian kick lately, so we’ll begin with a brief background on the Russian kokoshnik style of tiara.
The most famous tiara in this style among the British royals is Her Majesty’s aptly-named Kokoshnik Tiara. It was passed down to her from her great-grandmother, Queen Alexandra.
Alexandra married Britain’s Prince Edward, the Prince of Wales (the future King Edward VII). Her sister married Russia’s Tsar Alexander III and was known as Tsarina Marie Feodorovna (far left). Despite the distance and the different cultures, the sisters remained close and enjoyed dressing identically, and it was the Tsarina who passed her love of the Russian peasant headdress to her sister.
Kokoshnik headpieces were paired with a traditional Russian peasant outfit known as a sarafan. The style of kokoshnik can vary – some look like an enormous, elaborate fan covered in jewels; some are in the style of a typical tiara but are no less elaborate with extensive beading and rich fabrics. The Tsarina and her sister, however, skipped the fabric and had kokoshnik tiaras created with platinum and diamonds! Queen Elizabeth II is often seen wearing the Kokoshnik (far right), which seems to be one of her favorites aside from the Girls of Great Britain and Ireland tiara.
Greville Emerald Kokoshnik Tiara
The most recent stunner in the kokoshnik variety was Princess Eugenie’s diamond and emerald tiara. It proved to be a popular choice among, well, everyone! The York princess took our collective breath away with this kokoshnik for her wedding to Jack Brooksbank in October 2018 .
Its formal name is the Greville Emerald Kokoshnik Tiara, named for the Hon. Margaret Greville who bequeathed her jewels to Queen Mary and the Duke and Duchess of York (later King George VI and Queen Mary). See also: the Greville Chandelier Earrings.
Iveagh Diamond Tiara/Gloucester Leafage Tiara
This is one of my absolute favorites. Ok, I’ve probably said that about other tiaras (everything is tied for first place at this point) but the exquisite, elegant curve of the Leafage tiara has to be one of the best I’ve ever seen. Can you imagine the sparkle on this? Simply perfect.
The details: This leafage design is combined with a scroll motif and a series of round and drop shaped diamond collets (ak.a. bezel setting). It was a wedding gift from Lord and Lady Iveagh to Princess May of Teck (Queen Mary) who was betrothed to the Duke of York.
It was passed to the Gloucester line and has been seen on the heads of the Duchess of Gloucester and her daughter, Lady Rose.