This tiara is a Cartier Art Deco salute to both pines and aquamarines. Dating from 1938, the Pine Flower is one of those tiaras that has a short, neat history. [Compare with the Emerald Parure of Norway. Discuss.]
King George VI gave this tiara to Queen Elizabeth for their 50th Wedding Anniversary in 1938. [It ran the King of England £850. We wonder what £850 translates to in nowadays money.] Supposedly Queen Elizabeth wore it very infrequently, so this photo to the right is a big score.
They look so joyful in this photo; long ball gowns swishing down the hall. We can’t help but wonder where they were headed.
This tiara is also known as “Queen Elizabeth’s Cartier tiara” or “the Aquamarine Pine Flower tiara.” As far as We’re concerned Pine Flower is more than sufficient. While there are plenty of Cartier tiaras and aquamarine tiaras no other tiara features pine cones. It seems like a no-brainer to go with the overt, short moniker. (Though I have wondered if pine-flower should be hyphenated, but your Blog Hostess is the only person who cares about stuff like that.)
Like the Four-Button and Six-Button tiaras of Sweden, the Pine Flower is one of those diadems that evokes innate disdain. Far from the few of us who like it, most seem to become irate at the sight of it. And–boy!–do the pine cones really rub people the wrong way.
We want to say Princess Anne inherited the Pine Flower tiara as a 15th birthday present but–lacking any citation–all We can definitely say is that the Princess Royal inherited it from her Grandma Elizabeth.
Here’s an embarrassing-but-true Blog Hostess vignette. We’ve always loved that tiara—no, We don’t know why it took us so long to write about it—but always wondered why it looked so tchotchke in the “studio” photograph while it’s just eye-seduction in the Princess Anne photographs. Check out the differences between the top pic and the photo to the left. You’d think We would notice something as obvious as a huge, round aguamarina gone missing. *duhhh*
The Princess Royal had the centerpiece round aquamarine removed and replaced with a smaller, emerald-cut aquamarine, most likely one of the side-stones. In addition to swapping the centerstone, Princess Anne also shortened the sides, supposedly for comfort, though I’ve heard it said the shortening was really to accomodate the Princess Royal’s never-changing coiffure.
She used the spare parts to make smaller jewelry. Supposedly the center stone became a pendant. From the few photos that exist, frankly we can’t tell where those aquamarines originated. We can certainly aver that the pendant in these photos does not contain the round center-stone.
we don’t need no stinking pine cones
The anomaly of pine cones on the tiara has been remarked upon by many, so we decided to just find out of what pine is symbolic. The 100%-correct-always Internet tells us that pine is a universal symbol of life and fertility and is associated with the Greek god Bacchus. Like all evergreen trees which do not lose their leaves or green color during the wintertime, the pine tree stands for immortality. In Japan, the pine tree stands as a tribute to strong character and energy because it holds up against strong winds.) Fertility, life and stability seem like very tiara-appropriate sentiments, especially for a wedding gift or a 50th Anniversary.
So what’s the deal with aquamarines then?Yeah, it was compulsive. If you’re gonna look up pine symbolism you’re pretty much obligated to look up aquamarine symbolism. Amongst the teal-toned gem’s charms We found that aquamarine brings victory, extending from armed medieval battle all the way to legal disputes. Then there’s Our personal favorite, “the gem was also credited with curing belching and yawning and was considered especially effective for curing ailments of the jaws, throat, stomach, liver and toothaches.” Well I’ll be damned! The Romans believed that if the figure of a frog were carved on an aquamarine, it served to reconcile enemies and make them friends. Thanks Internet! Golly! (You know Us; we had to put all the irrelevant, silly stuff first.)
A tale more along the tiara yarn We’re following, the Romans also maintained that aquamarine absorbs the energy of young love. Fittingly, the morning after consummation, it was considered most appropriate for the groom to give his bride an aquamarine as a gift.
Interestingly, in Medieval times, the stone was thought to reawaken the love of married couples. I guess all those post-coital centuries must’ve charged those aquamarines up pretty well. Now they’re just oozing with young love. I wonder how often you have to top off your aquamarine? How long do they hold a charge? Questions.