tiara time! the poltimore tiara

We have always held the Poltimore tiara in high regard for one reason only: it stars in the undisputed greatest tiara photo in the history of history.

Princess Margaret wears Poltimore Tiara in the Bath

Makes you want a deeper tub, doesn’t it?

Naturally, the question “Why aren’t more ladies wearing their tiaras in the bath?” is rendered rhetorical when We consider most people use bath-time as an opportunity to wash their hair. So let us just bask in the glory of Princess Margaret and those delightfully oversized English bathtubs. (Your Blog Hostess was lucky enough to have one when she lived in Manchester. Your petite Blog Hostess could float on her back, completely stretched out, as if she were in a pool. Good times.)

Anywho…back to the centerpiece of the post, the tiara itself. This imposing Neo-Classical pieces towers white and high like the Cliffs of Dover. The Hadrian’s Wall of Tiaras is made up of “stylized” leaves, flowers and vines.

Poltimore Tiara

Poltimore Tiara and Lady Poltimore

Florence, 2nd Lady Poltimore

This bad-boy was made by Garrad in 1870 for the wife of the 2nd Baron Poltimore. (The baron, interesting tidbit, was treasurer to Queen Victoria’s household from 1872 to 1874. Neat, huh?) The 4th Baron Poltimore sold the tiara for £5,500 on January 29, 1959. It was “acquired for Princess Margaret” to commemorate-but-prior-to-the-official-announcement of her engagement to Anthony Armstrong-Jones.

Poltimore necklace and brooches

the Poltimore in necklace and 3-out-of-11 brooch form.

Princess Margaret sported the tiara in alternate forms prior to the wedding on May 6, 1960. The Poltimore converts into a flexible necklace and its larger diamond clusters pop out (for lack of a better word) to be worn as brooches.  1 Poltimore Tiara yields 11 Poltimore brooches, in case you were wondering. Plus the tiara was crafted with its own screwdriver to detach aforementioned brooches. (Seriously. We can’t make this up. It’s all in the auction notes.) In order to attain necklace form, the 11 brooches must be removed anyhow.

Princess Margaret’s wedding was the first televised British royal wedding during which the Poltimore in its full glory was first debuted. (Insert angelic choir ‘hallelujahs’ here.) Now what kind of Blog Hostess would We be if we posted a photo of the first televised British wedding? Yeah, that’s right. Vid. E. O.

There are multiple theories as to why Princess Margaret was able to pull off a tiara that seems to trump any other British diamond tiara in size, gravitas and sass. The Countess of Snowdon was quite petite and the tiara simply helped to elevate her frame. Her wedding dress was quite simple thus counter-balancing the elaborate tiara. The stylish, sometimes rebellious princess had a personality to match the grand tiara. Being of dainty frame and fashion-backward, We feel unqualified to weigh in on any of these theories ourselves. Just thought We’d put the ideas out there for you to discuss amongst yourselves.

princess margaret in the poltimore tiara collage

Princess Margaret wears the Poltimore Tiara as (L to R) a tiara; necklace and brooch and in an up-do as agriettes.

Alright, now We’ve got to know how petite Princess Margaret was. Hold please…huh. It says she was 5’1″. At 5’2″ your Blog Hostess wins and therefore cannot mourn the missed opportunity to overpay for a tiara. And overpay they did.

The tiara, like so many others, was auctioned off to pay a hefty inheritance tax. Viscount Linley and Lady Sarah Chatto put the tiara and many other jewels once belonging to the Countess of Snowdon up for bidding in 2006. Its value estimated at $360,000, the Poltimore tiara was sold to yet-another anonymous collector for $1.7 million. Anyone else feel like we’re seeing a theme here? Are tiaras appreciating in value? CNN Finance refused to comment. Alright, fine. We never asked. It just sounded good.

Happy Friday, everyone.

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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14 Responses to tiara time! the poltimore tiara

  1. Angelyn says:

    Why aren’t more ladies wearing their tiaras in the bath?

    I don’t have an answer–the notion quite simply astonishes and delights!


    • when I get my tiara *sarcastic cough* I’m going to wear it (1) for a quick swing to the corner store for milk (2) all household chores and (3) possibly the gym. Picture me trying to balance the Poltimore while I do the elliptical. (yes, that was your cue to laugh.)

      Come to think of it, balancing a crown of precious rocks would require a core-exerting posture. So picture me falling off to the side in a most comical way…


  2. Titanic Buff says:

    Lady Poltimore looks very disgusted in her photograph. Do you suppose that she found it terrible that the baron couldn’t afford a much sumptuous tiara or is her corset laced too tight?


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  7. Lady says:

    Sometimes I wonder if we’ll ever get to see these tiaras again. Or do they end up in some vault?

    Liked by 1 person

it's not just a love-affair with my own voice

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