Backstage image of a model wearing a tiara

Backstage image of a Chaumet tiara being fitted on a model

Tiaras are the cult jewel of maison Chaumet, and their latest exhibition ‘Chaumet in Majesty’ at the Grimaldi Forum, Monaco offers a rare insight into the iconic jewel’s history

Since 1780 Chaumet has been the jeweller to sovereigns. This latest exhibition at Grimaldi Forum recounts the lives of the brand’s royal customers and delves into the history of the jewels themselves, highlighting tiaras as symbolic of timeless feminine power.

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Antique photograph of a woman in evening dress wearing a tiara

Portrait of Edwina, Countess Mountbatten of Burma, last Vicereine of India, wearing her Chaumet tiara for George VI’s coronation. Photographie de Yevonde, 1937. © Madame Yevonde/Mary Evans Picture Library

As Chaumet demonstrates, a tiara is not just a decorative jewel, but one which has an important functionality, specifically designed to imbue its wearer with virtuous qualities and authority. For example, The Briar Rose Bud tiara (1922) features fauna motif referring back to the power and prestige of classical laurel wreaths whilst the material qualities of the pearls evoke wisdom and diamonds are traditionally associated with timeless elegance and strength. The Pearl and Mircomosaic Parer (1811) also projects an image of its imperial court. The tiara depicts scenes of Roman landscapes through mosaic techniques to lend the piece and its wearer an air of romanticism and grandeur.

Product image of a diamond tiara against a black background


‘Chaumet in Majesty’ exhibition at the Grimaldi Forum, Monaco: displaying the tiara with florets of Edwina Countess Mountbatten of Burma, last Vice-Queen of India created by Marcel Chaumet (1886-1964) in 1934 in the workshop of Maison Chaumet. The tiara was entrusted to another Maison who sold it to Lady Edwina Mountbatten. Private collection

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The exhibition brings together 250 pieces of jewellery, some of which are being seen publicly for the first time, sourced from the collections of Prince Albert II of Monaco, Queen Margrethe II of Denmark and museum collections from all over the world. In the exhibition we see the heritage of the maison’s forms and the quality and beauty of their pieces, but more importantly, we can begin to appreciate jewellery’s role in signifying women’s power throughout the ages.

‘Chaumet in Majesty’ runs until 28 August 2019 at the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco. For more information visit: chaumet.com

Rosie Ellison-Balaam