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Jasper52 offers luxe jewelry by Van Cleef, Bulgari in Nov. 16 auction

A Van Cleef & Arpels diamond and lapis lazuli ring, a Bulgari 18K gold two-row diamond band ring, and a 14K gold heavy fancy link collar necklace will jockey for top lot status in Jasper52’s Fine Designer and Gold Jewelry auction, which will take place on Wednesday, November 16 at 7 pm Eastern time. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.

Not all that glitters is gold, and not all gold is yellow. The November 16 sale provides pieces in all shades of gold, and some feature more than one. Offerings in white gold include an 18K white gold ring centered on a GIA-certified yellow diamond; a vintage Roberto Coin 18K white gold cigar band ring pave-set with six rows of tiny blue sapphires; a Jude Frances 18K white gold, diamond and London blue topaz halo ring; and a 14K white gold heavy graduated concave bangle bracelet.

Van Cleef & Arpels 18K gold, diamond and lapis lazuli ring, estimated at $6,000-$7,000

View the auction here.

Learn more about the auction on Auction Central News.

Exclusive Estate and Designer Jewelry commands spotlight, Oct. 25

A circa-1980s Marina B 18K gold, topaz, citrine and diamond ring; a pair of Suzanne Belperron Dents de Loup gold, platinum and diamond clip brooches; and a charming set of gold, diamond and onyx poodle-form pins by Cartier will likely earn top lot status at Jasper52’s Exclusive Estate and Designer Jewelry auction, which will take place on Tuesday, October 25, starting at 3 pm Eastern time. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.

Cartier is well-represented in the October 25 sale. Aside from the poodle pins, there is a Cartier New York 1931 gold, amethyst and horn necklace; a convertible 18K yellow and white gold and diamond chain necklace from the 1980s; an 18K gold cocktail ring featuring a scarce Chameleon diamond; and a pair of 18K gold cufflinks with invisibly set sapphires.

Marina B 18K gold, diamond, topaz and citrine ring, estimated at $9,000-$11,000

View the auction here.

Learn more about the auction on Auction Central News.

Art Deco and Art Nouveau jewelry abounds in Oct. 19 sale

A pair of SeidenGang 18K gold, amethyst and pearl ear clips; a 14K gold and diamond brooch festooned with 112 seed pearls; and an 18K gold and enamel brooch with an antique scarab will compete for top lot status at Jasper52’s Antique Art Deco and Art Nouveau Jewelry auction, which will be presented on Wednesday, October 19 starting at 3 pm Eastern time. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.

Other lots in the sale include a circa-1920 Tiffany & Co. 18K gold letter opener, decorated with plique-a-jour enamel; a Victorian 14K gold pin centered on a huge, oval-shape piece of moss agate; a 14K gold, diamond and sapphire wedding set; a vintage 14K white gold ring featuring a carved 8.82-carat moonstone surrounded by diamonds, sapphires and rubies; a Victorian-era frog brooch decorated with 50 diamonds and two rubies for eyes; and a charming 18K gold and platinum fan-form brooch studded with 13 diamonds, which might be an early example of a bat mitzvah gift.

14K gold, diamond and seed pearl brooch, estimated at $900-$1,100

View the auction here.

Learn more about the auction on Auction Central News.

LABRADORITES: REFLECTING THE SHIMMERING BEAUTY OF THE AURORA BOREALIS

A set of 18K gold cufflinks set with carved labradorites flanked by diamonds achieved $2,500 plus the buyer’s premium in October 2021. Image courtesy of Auctions at Showplace and LiveAuctioneers

Moravian missionaries first discovered semi-precious labradorite in the vast wilderness of Labrador, Canada in the late 1700s, but the gemstone’s mysterious radiance had long inspired legends among the Innus, an indigenous nomadic people native to that region. Subsequently, labradorite has been found around the world, notably in Australia, Madagascar, Mexico, the United States and Scandinavia. 

This 18K gold Van Cleef & Arpels bombe-style ring set with an oval cabochon labradorite earned $2,400 plus the buyer’s premium in October 2020. Image courtesy of Rago Arts and Auction Center and LiveAuctioneers

Though a member of the humble feldspar family, labradorite, against a greenish-gray background, boasts some of the most dazzling yellow, blue, orange and purple gemstone effects known. This unique natural phenomenon, described as “labradorescence,” features an iridescent optical interplay of colorful internal crystals. In addition to its pearly sheen, some specimens also demonstrate a shimmery effect known as schiller — rainbow-like lights reflecting off tiny mineral inclusions when turned this way or that. 

A stick pin crowned with a labradorite carved to resemble the head of a gorilla with diamond eyes achieved £1,900 (about $2,118) plus the buyer’s premium in September 2022. Image courtesy of Auction Zero and LiveAuctioneers

During the 19th century, these unusual gemstones adorned European rings, necklaces, brooches and lavish, gold-mounted trinket boxes. Skillfully carved labradorite cameo clasps, rings, brooches and pendants, depicting busts of Roman rulers or other classic images, also became fashionable. Delicate stick pins tipped with cunningly carved labradorite monkeys, caterpillars or glowering gorillas, such as the one Auction Zero sold for $2,118 plus the buyer’s premium in September 2022, were particularly desirable. A gold and diamond bracelet depicting a diamond-eyed great horned owl, which realized $2,453 plus the buyer’s premium in May 2015 through Zero Etrusca, is also a charmer. 

A gold and diamond bracelet set with a carved labradorite cameo of an owl’s head earned £2,200 (about $2,453) plus the buyer’s premium in May 2015. Image courtesy of Auction Zero Etrusca and LiveAuctioneers

Georg Jensen’s artisans, famed for their elegant sculptural designs and fine craftsmanship, continue to showcase labradorites in their rings, earrings, pins, pendants, stick pins and jewelry suites. In February 2021, Elmwood’s auction house, located in London, offered a graceful Jensen bracelet featuring foliate sterling silver links set with cabochon labradorites and a matching cabochon set to the clasp. It attained £800 (about $892) plus the buyer’s premium.

A Georg Jensen silver bracelet featuring six foliate links set with oval cabochon labradorites and a labradorite cabochon on the clasp sold for £800 (about $892) plus the buyer’s premium in February 2021. Image courtesy of Elmwood’s and LiveAuctioneers

A 1920s Georg Jensen silver brooch, which realized $948 plus the buyer’s premium at Elmwood’s in the same sale that contained the Jensen bracelet, subtly matches labradorites with a single, similar-looking moonstone. Though moonstones come from the same family as labradorites and have similar internal flash and visible crystals, they can be differentiated by their grounds. Moonstones appear milky or transparent, while labradorites appear earthy, opaque or translucent brown, black or gray. In addition, labradorites may depict a broader range of internal shades. 

This Irene Neuwirth 18K rose gold ring featuring a rose-cut labradorite amid round brilliant-cut diamonds attained $2,250 plus the buyer’s premium in March 2022. Image courtesy of Fortuna and LiveAuctioneers

Because labradorites remain affordable and readily available, contemporary jewelry designers are drawn to them. In March 2022, Fortuna Auction presented a signed, stamped Irene Neuwirth 18K rose gold ring centered on a gorgeous round rose cut labradorite amid round brilliant cut diamonds. It ultimately realized $2,250 plus the buyer’s premium. Labradorite also lends itself to being converted into multitudes of minuscule beads. In February 2021, Hindman auctioned Angela Pintaldi’s dramatic, coiled 74-strand labradorite bead necklace, accented with one round brilliant cut brown diamond, for $1,500 plus the buyer’s premium. 

An Angela Pintaldi necklace graced with 74 strands of round labradorite beads and a matte gold clasp containing one round brilliant cut brown diamond realized $1,500 plus the buyer’s premium in February 2021. Image courtesy of Hindman and LiveAuctioneers

Simpler labradorite-studded pieces such as tennis bracelets, cuffs, cocktail rings, and chunky charms are also trendy, especially among those who attribute spiritual meaning to them. Many, as did the Innus of old, believe that this so-called “fire stone” provides mystic healing and protective powers, including inner peace, clarity of mind and the strength to endure life’s challenges. 

This 24K gold, labradorite and diamond necklace earned $5,000 plus the buyer’s premium in May 2019. Image courtesy of Hindman and LiveAuctioneers

Moreover, because labradorite’s hues reflect the lights of the magnificent Aurora Borealis that paints the night sky over Labrador, many believe this gemstone links the physical world with the metaphysical world. According to legend, when an Innu warrior came across the wondrous, other-worldly display of color within the rocks of Labrador, he perceived them as stars trapped within. When he speared them free, scattering them toward the heavens, those falling back to the ground formed glowing labradorites. 

A Georg Jensen silver brooch set with cabochon moonstones and labradorites and fitted with three suspending drops set with labradorites realized £850 (about $948) plus the buyer’s premium in February 2021. Image courtesy of Elmwood’s and LiveAuctioneers

As seen in the Aurora Borealis, the largest lightshow on earth, labradorite gemstones refract from red and copper to bright blue, gleaming with green, gold and every color in between. They are truly unique gifts of nature that hold their own in the finest of precious-metal settings.

Antique and designer bling beckons bidders to Oct. 4 jewelry sale

An 18K gold, diamond and sapphire cocktail ring, a pair of 18K gold Love earrings by Cartier, and an Art Deco platinum, diamond and emerald brooch will vie for top lot status at Jasper52’s Fine Antique Jewelry and More sale, which will be conducted on Tuesday, October 4 at 1 pm Eastern time. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.

Art Deco platinum, diamond and emerald brooch, estimated at $30,000-$36,000

View the auction here.

Learn more about the auction on Auction Central News.

Prestige jewelers and designers featured in Jasper52’s Sept. 21 jewelry sale

A turquoise butterfly pendant on a leather cord, a 14K gold sapphire and diamond ballerina ring, and a vintage sterling silver and turquoise bowguard will likely earn top lot status at Jasper52’s Antique to Modern Fine Jewelry sale, which will commence on Wednesday, September 21 at 4 pm Eastern time. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.

Lots in the sale from brand name jewelers include a Van Cleef & Arpels gold, diamond and lapis lazuli flower brooch; a circa-1990s Paloma Picasso sterling silver loving heart necklace; a pair of Karl Lagerfeld gold-plated scrollwork hoop earrings; a basket-weave brooch by Fendi; Geoffrey Beane faux Sleeping Beauty turquoise earrings; and a pair of Christian Dior clip-on dark blue and clear crystal earrings.

Turquoise butterfly pendant on a leather cord, estimate $1,200-$1,500

View the auction here.

Learn more about the auction on Auction Central News.

SNAKES ON A CHAIN, AND OTHER JEWELRY FORMS

A 1985 Tiffany & Co. and Elsa Peretti 18K gold necklace with a snake head clasp earned $15,000 plus the buyer’s premium in October 2020. Image courtesy of Freeman’s and LiveAuctioneers

Snakes, which have slithered through lore and ritual since time immemorial, traditionally symbolize both good and evil. In many Abrahamic cultures, they represent seduction and sexual desire, while in others they represent health, fertility, growth, transformation and rebirth. In Egypt, Nile cobras, regal symbols of sovereignty, adorned pharaohs’ crowns. In Greek mythology, Asclepius, the god of medicine, carried a snake-entwined staff. In contrast, Medusa, a monstrous winged gorgon, had live snakes in place of hair. 

A circa-1970s Bulgari enamel and 18K gold snake bracelet-watch with a Jaeger Le Coultre movement achieved $132,500 plus the buyer’s premium in May 2021. Image courtesy of Bidhaus and LiveAuctioneers

The snake’s alluring duality, combined with its sinuous, fluid lines, has inspired jewelry designs ranging from wrap-around rings to coiled earrings. Greeks favored gold circlets whose snake-head terminals devoured their tails – an age-old motif symbolizing spiritual transformation as well as the eternal cycle of life, death and rebirth. Others wound wondrously worked gold bangles sporting double-snakes, symbols of wisdom, beauty, and protection from evil, around their wrists or arms. 

This Roman-Egyptian gold snake bracelet dating to the 1st Century BC to 1st Century AD sold for $4,750 plus the buyer’s premium in May 2022. Image courtesy of Hindman and LiveAuctioneers

Slender, spiraling, snake-themed Roman gold hair rings, earrings, armlets and bracelets have survived to the present to reach the auction block. In May 2022, Hindman sold a gold scaly-skinned Roman-Egyptian snake bangle, its double-heads poised to strike and its tongues flicking, for $4,750 plus the buyer’s premium.

A Gucci 18K gold hinged cuff bracelet in the form of a fang-bearing snake with an amethyst set in its head realized $36,000 plus the buyer’s premium in May 2022. Image courtesy of Joshua Kodner and LiveAuctioneers

Snake-themed jewelry spread through Europe from the mid-1800s, after Prince Albert marked his engagement to Queen Victoria by designing an ornate coiled-snake engagement ring as a symbol of everlasting love. Other pieces linking snakes with love soon appeared. Snake-head pendants suspended on slinky gold chains dangled plump, tender hearts from their reptilian mouths. Elegantly enameled snake-shaped bracelets shimmered with gemstones. Brooches coiled coyly into snaky figure-eight infinity symbols or, as with a radiant garden snake (lazing-at-his-leisure) pendant-pin that realized $1,000 plus the buyer’s premium at Reverie auction house in September 2020, looped into remarkably realistic replicas. 

A Victorian silver snake pendant-pin set featuring blue-green turquoise sold for $1,000 plus the buyer’s premium in September 2020. Image courtesy of Reverie and LiveAuctioneers

Still other pieces, such as an exceptional gold and silver amethyst, emerald and diamond snake necklace featuring an articulated coiling body in adjustable lengths and dating from the same era, earned £26,000 (about $31,390) plus the buyer’s premium at Elmwood’s in August 2021. 

A 19th-century gold, silver, amethyst, emerald and diamond snake necklace, sporting an articulated coiling body in adjustable lengths, earned £26,000 (about $31,390) plus the buyer’s premium in August 2021. Image courtesy of Elmwood’s and LiveAuctioneers

Asymmetrical snake motif brooches, stick pins, pendants, cufflinks, rings and earrings also cunningly curled though the Art Nouveau Era. Beginning in the 20th century, prestigious jewelry houses offered interpretations all their own. Cartier introduced its famed undulating platinum snake necklace in 1919 and its spectacular, fully flexible life-size snake necklace, scaled with 2,473 brilliant and baguette-cut diamonds, followed decades later. In addition, the company produced a series of vibrant 18K gold snake rings set with small round-cut pave set diamonds and gleaming ruby eyes. 

This Cartier 18K gold snake ring with round-cut, pave-set diamonds and round-cut ruby eyes attained $7,500 plus the buyer’s premium in September 2020. Image courtesy Leonard Auction, Inc. and LiveAuctioneers

In the 1940s, the Italian luxury fashion house Bulgari, inspired by ancient Roman armlets, introduced its popular and powerful Serpenti collection. Although some of its watch-bracelets reflected the hues of actual snakes, the majority were produced in more striking scaly palettes. A circa-1970s multi-colored enamel bracelet-watch featuring two pear-shape diamond eyes and a Jaeger Le Coultre movement achieved $132,500 plus the buyer’s premium at Bidhaus in May 2021.

A multi-coil circa-1970 Bulgari Vacheron Constantin gold and diamond Tubogas cuff watch realized $46,250 plus the buyer’s premium in January 2022. Image courtesy of Pacific Global Auction and LiveAuctioneers

Bulgari also gained fame for its sensational snake-like Tubogas timepieces, rings, bracelets and necklaces. These supple treasures, created by interlocking coiled bands of steel or gold horizontally around long flexible tubes, seemingly brought reptilian forms to life. 

A pair of 18K gold, ruby and emerald Boucheron Kaa snake cocktail earrings sold for $5,000 plus the buyer’s premium in November 2020. Image courtesy of Hampton Estate Auction and LiveAuctioneers

Maison Boucheron, a jewelry house based in Paris, distinguished itself with its Serpent Boheme Collection. The line’s delicate, subtle designs employ slim, chased, scale-like strands of gold enfolding elegant, teardrop-shape diamond, lapis lazuli, coral, citrine or garnet “snake heads.” But Boucheron’s Kaa collection, inspired by a massive rock python indigenous to Pakistan, India and Southeast Asia, is far more fearsome. Kaa clip-on cocktail earrings, glinting with rubies and emeralds, rival Kaa crossover rings, fashioned with mouths agape and fangs flashing, for imbuing a superlative jewelry design with a hint of malevolence.

A double-spiral 18K white gold and black enamel snake bracelet by Zendrini realized €9,500 (also $9,500) in December 2021. Image courtesy of Colasanti Casa D’Aste and LiveAuctioneers

Snake motifs are timeless, uniting primal beauty with long-established cultural allusions. When worn as jewelry, these mysterious curving shapes can project personal strength, self-confidence and power. 

Emeralds, sapphires and other coveted stones highlight Aug. 23 sale

On Tuesday, August 23, starting at 1 pm Eastern time, Jasper52 will conduct a sale of Classic to Modern Jewelry and Stones. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.

Outsize gemstones, some loose but most set into jewelry, appear throughout the 300-lot auction. Of particular note is a massive 140.01-carat aquamarine strung on an 18K white gold necklace with a platinum frame; a 49.73-carat unheated star sapphire in a sugarloaf cut, showcased in an 18K white gold ring; another ring of the same precious metal, centering a sapphire, this one a deep green-blue 17.64-carat natural stone in an octagonal emerald cut; and an absolutely huge loose cushion cut natural aquamarine that weighs 157.55 carats.

Platinum estate pin with diamonds and six carats of Colombian emeralds, est. $12,000-$14,000

View the auction here.

Learn more about the auction on Auction Central News.

New York sale showcases Classic to Modern Jewelry and Stones, Aug. 9

An 18K gold ring centered on a 13.33-carat natural blue-green sapphire, a pair of dangle earrings graced with 50 carats of briolette and rose cut diamonds, and an 18K white and yellow gold diamond ring will likely earn top lot status at Jasper52’s sale titled Classic to Modern Jewelry and Stones, which will take place on Tuesday, August 9 at 1 pm Eastern time. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.

Other prizes in the 300-lot August 9 auction include a natural royal blue cushion cut tanzanite weighing 58.21 carats; a 14K rose and white gold bracelet sporting 23.25 carats of vivid pink sapphires, accompanied by diamonds; necklaces of natural multi-color Tahitian saltwater pearls as well as a strand of natural golden South Sea pearls; an emerald cut natural aquamarine of 42.01 carats, set in an 18K white gold ring with diamonds; and a 14K white gold ring with a 6.41-carat vivid orange sapphire.

18K gold ring centered on a GIA-certified 7.71-carat natural blue-green sapphire, est. $44,000-$53,000

View the auction here.

Tiaras: Glittering regalia for crowned heads or commoners

A circa-1910 convertible diamond tiara-necklace in a floral design, made for Phyllis Elinor Turner to wear at her presentation at court prior to her 1913 marriage, achieved £45,000 (about $54,100) plus the buyer’s premium in July 2022. Image courtesy of Dreweatts Donnington Priory and LiveAuctioneers

The tiara – a glittering, indulgent headpiece worn by royalty or any woman who wants to feel like a princess – calls to mind images from a fairy tale, but this form of jewelry has an ancient origin. It debuted as a symbol of respect and authority for Roman emperors, who would don a wreath or tiara of laurel leaves made of pounded gold. Champions of the original Olympic games were crowned with a tiara of intertwined olive branches and leaves cut from a sacred tree that grew near the temple of Zeus at Mount Olympus. The word “tiara” actually descends from a Persian description of the high crowns and diadems worn by its royal families.

A tiara festooned with at least 18 carats of diamonds, which was worn by Princess Eugenia at her 1938 wedding to Prince Dominik Radziwill, achieved $55,000 plus the buyer’s premium in December 2020. Image courtesy of Hindman and LiveAuctioneers

As centuries passed, the tiara slowly became exclusive to elite and noble women, and it evolved into four styles: the bandeau, the kokoshnik, the halo, and the fringe.

The bandeau tiara is best described as a headband designed to hold the wearer’s hair or veil in place. When Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, married Prince Harry in 2018, her wedding veil was crowned with a diamond and platinum bandeau tiara that previously had been worn by Queen Mary, who sited a diamond brooch at its center. The bandeau style can be traced back to a wreath of myrtle leaves and buds worn by brides at ancient Greek weddings. 

A 19th-century silver and gold amethyst kokoshnik tiara realized £1,300 (about $1,500) plus the buyer’s premium in September 2019. Image courtesy of Fellows and LiveAuctioneers

The kokoshnik tiara is rooted in the medieval-era customs of court officials of the Boyars in Russia, the Baltic States and small Eastern European kingdoms. Their social status depended on the height of the hats they wore, and this rule affected wives and princesses, too. These women signaled their rank and prominence with a large headdress-like tiara called a kokoshnik, which was weighted down with gemstones and diamonds. Today, the kokoshnik can take a smaller, simpler form, yet its distinctive shape and style remains essentially unchangely.

A halo tiara, as the name suggests, completely or almost completely encircles the head of the wearer. The most famous halo tiara of the 21st century was worn by Kate Middleton in her wedding to Prince William, in 2011. A Cartier creation featuring 739 brilliant cut diamonds and 149 baguette diamonds, it was first donned by Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother in 1936. She gave the tiara to her daughter, the future Queen Elizabeth II, for her 18th birthday, but the piece found greater favor with Princess Margaret, who wore it for her elder sister’s coronation in 1953.

The fringe tiara is so named because its diamonds and gemstones are arranged upward in rows, not unlike the fringe of a flag. Queen Mary, a keen collector of jewelry, had a fringe tiara made which Princess Elizabeth – now Queen Elizabeth II – borrowed for her wedding to Prince Philip in 1947. The reigning monarch clearly shows a preference for this diamond fringe tiara, having worn it for numerous official photographs and on state occasions. Its distinctive array of brilliant cut diamonds radiates a sense of sophistication fit for a reigning queen.

A diamond tiara topped with three cabochon emeralds weighing 3.51 carats, 10.76 carats, and 3.28 carats respectively, sold for £16,000 (about $19,200) plus the buyer’s premium in December 2020. Image courtesy of Elmwood’s and LiveAuctioneers

Tiaras are exquisite and expensive expressions of the jeweler’s art, but many are built around a surprising secret, one that allows them to transform with ease and grace. 

A Victorian-era 22K gold amethyst jewelry set featuring a tiara, a necklace and a detachable brooch-pin pendant earned $12,500 plus the buyer’s premium in June 2021. Image courtesy of P.K. Gallery and LiveAuctioneers

In the not-too-distant past, a tiara served as the cornerstone of a set of official jewelry worn for state or social occasions. Once the tiara was in hand, it would be matched with a separate brooch, bracelet, earrings and a necklace. This suite of jewelry, called a parure, first appeared at the court of King Louis XIV and soon became an indispensable part of a woman’s wardrobe. Parures were scrutinized as mercilessly as gowns. To maintain her status, the wearer had to have the right design, the right gemstones and the right jeweler. Keeping au courant was difficult in the fast-paced world of the royal court.

This circa-1810 kokoshnik-type tiara parure, offered in its original fitted box, sold for $2,300 plus the buyer’s premium in January 2018. Image courtesy of Case Antiques Inc., Auctions & Appraisals; and LiveAuctioneers

Jewelers solved this problem and soothed the social anxieties of their clients by making tiaras convertible. The most ingeniously designed tiaras that could be broken apart into a separate necklace, brooch, earrings and bracelet. The fully-assembled tiara was suited to the most formal occasions, while its component parts could be worn at intimate dinners, parties, family gatherings and semi-official outings. Convertible tiaras delivered a parure, all in one.

A circa-1850 18K gold and silver diamond tiara that converts to a choker realized €8,000 (about $8,100) plus the buyer’s premium in April 2021. Image courtesy of Ansorena and LiveAuctioneers

A notable example of a convertible tiara is the Dutch Emerald Parure Tiara of the Royal Family of the Netherlands. Created in 1899, the royal parure consists of emeralds, natural pearls and diamonds. One tiara can transform into other versions that sport different configurations. 

As you might expect, royal traditions dictate who can wear tiaras, and when. Unmarried girls are forbidden to don them on the notion that youth needs nothing artificial, including gemstones, to compete with its fleeting merits. Only on her wedding day is a high-born woman allowed to place a tiara on her head, and that tiara should be provided by her family. Once married, her husband will give her a new tiara of her own, usually as part of a parure. 

A silver, gold and diamond floral tiara, dating to the early 20th century, achieved £15,000 (about $18,000) plus the buyer’s premium in March 2020. Image courtesy of Fellows and LiveAuctioneers

Decidedly nonroyal couples of the Victorian era embraced the tiara and the rules that came with it. Husbands presented their wives with parures centered on tiaras as engagement or wedding presents until the practice fell out of fashion after World War I. These 19th-century parures, many of which took the forms of convertible tiaras, show up with some frequency at auction. 

A tiara set with rubies, diamonds and pearls in a series of seven graduated foliate motifs attained £12,000 (about $14,400) plus the buyer’s premium in October 2020. Image courtesy of Elmwood’s and LiveAuctioneers

Although you might think a tiara is too fancy for your lifestyle, it delivers practical benefits anyone can appreciate. “Tiaras are unfailingly flattering,” said Claire Scott, head of design for the prestigious British jeweler Garrard & Co. “These mini crowns tend to lengthen necks and straighten backs [and] make even the slouchiest stand taller. It gives you a different feeling, a different posture. That’s something people like. It surprises them.”

Moreover, tiaras need not be made with precious metals and gemstones. They are just as delightful in enamel, coral, onyx or other semi-precious stones.

A white metal tiara sporting more than 20 carats’ worth of diamonds in four different styles of cut sold for $15,000 plus the buyer’s premium in June 2017. Image courtesy of Heritage Auctions and LiveAuctioneers.

And, because it might need to be said: Yes, every woman deserves to wear a tiara. You don’t have to inherit a title first. You don’t need to be a debutante or a dowager. And you need not be married. Despite their history, tiaras can grace any head.

If you don’t have a tiara of your own yet, don’t worry. Take the advice of socialite Paris Hilton, who suggests that you “always walk around like you have on an invisible tiara.”