Westminster Tiaras Theme Week: Princess Mary’s Fringe Tiara

It’s Princess Mary’s Fringe Friday of our theme week, highlighting the private collection of tiaras of the Duke of Westminster! So without further ado, let’s get to it!

Princess Mary's fringe tiara ca 1922

It may be easy to confuse Princess Mary’s Fringe (above) with Queen Mary’s Fringe or the County of Surrey Fringe or any of the other fringe tiaras out there, they do look similar and there is much more information out there on those other tiaras. However, this classic fringe is its own woman in addition to doing what all good fringes should: it detaches from the base and can double as a necklace! Who doesn’t love a good two-fer?

Queen Mary's Fringe and the County of Surrey Fringe Tiaras

A tiara not to be confused with Queen Mary’s Fringe (left) and the Surrey Fringe (center and right)

Princess Mary’s Fringe is made of fifty-one graduated diamond spikes, each alternating with a smaller diamond “collet spike”.  The base these spires are mounted upon is a single row of cushion-cut diamonds, arranged in graduated size, like the fifty-one major spikes. Princess Mary's fringe tiara close upPersonally, I like the way the major spikes widen from bottom-to-top while the collet spikes behave in reverse. It gives the fringe a neat kind of yin-yang duality; an Eastern depth you don’t usually consider in Western royal headgear. (Boy it’s been a long week when I start reading into jewellery!)

Depending which website you read, Princess Mary received the tiara from either her parents, King George V and Queen Mary, as a gift in honor of her marriage to Henry Charles George, Viscount Lascelles. (Some websites claim Lord and Lady Inchcape presented her with the wedding gift. This seems highly unlikely as it appears the title was created in 1929 and the princess was married in 1922.)

Princess Mary and future Earl of Harewood on wedding day Feb. 28 1922

photo credit: Wikipedia Commons

The Princess and the Viscount were married on 28 February 1922 in Westminster Abbey. It was rumored that Princess Mary did not want to marry Lord Lascelles but was forced into the arranged marriage by her parents. (I wonder if the tiara was any consolation.) As you can tell from the picture, the princess looks thrilled and does not appear to be wearing her wedding fringe tiara.

In 1929, George became the sixth Earl of Harewood, and Baron Harewood in addition to his courtesy title of Viscount Lascelles when his father passed away. Princess Mary now added the Countess of Harewood to her list of titles and in 1932 King George also declared her to be the sixth “Princess Royal,” as she was his only daughter.

princess mary in fringe tiara

The Countess of Harewood had a staggering jewellery collection, most of which was auctioned off by her children after her death in 1965.  Her fringe tiara was one of the victims. It supposedly sold for $19,600 at Christie’s in 1966. They buyer was anonymous but it’s certain today that Princess Mary’s Fringe is in the Westminster Collection.

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About ♔ la dauphiine ♔

Connecticut-based jewelry monger, history buff, Mets fan. On the hum-drum side, call me a lauded poet, novelist and ghost-writer. (That's right, I haunt prose.)
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3 Responses to Westminster Tiaras Theme Week: Princess Mary’s Fringe Tiara

  1. Pingback: Fabergé Cyclamen Tiara (Westminster Collection Theme Week) « tiaras and trianon

  2. Pingback: Tiara Time! the votes are in! « tiaras and trianon

  3. Pingback: Tiara Time! The Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara « tiaras and trianon

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