In the past few years, the women of the royal family have gone out with any number of priceless tiaras glittering on their heads: from the hanging pearls of the Lover’s Knot tiara (Duchess Kate’s favorite, and before that beloved by Princess Diana) to the delicate bandeau of diamonds that Meghan Markle wore on her wedding day.
Not to mention to the more colorful gemstones that draw every eye in the room. On her own wedding day Princess Eugenie wore the breathtaking Greville Kokoshnik tiara, encrusted with emeralds and created in the Russian imperial style.
And only days ago, Queen Elizabeth II pulled out all the stops for the state banquet in President Trump’s honor, wearing the opulent Burmese ruby tiara.
But what about the tiaras most often worn by Sophie, Countess of Wessex? Her two favorite tiaras have a combined value of $1.9 million, and both feature a stone less flashy than the diamond, more subtle and delicate in color than the richly-hued ruby or emerald: the watery blue aquamarine.
(Antony Jones/UK Press via Getty Images)
The me valuable of these is wrought in floral and ribbon motifts studded with five of the gemstones from which the piece takes its name: the Five Aquamarine Tiara. (It’s also known as the Canadian Aquamarine Tiara, as the queen wore it on a state visit to Canada in 1970. Sophie is now the only member of the royal family who wears this particular piece.)
The gemstones’ pale green-blue are a perfect example of how aquamarine got its name, from the Latin aqua marina, meaning ‘sea water.’
The Countess’s other favourite tiara features an enormous aquamarine in a much deeper shade of blue-green than its counterparts in the Five Aquamarine Tiara. It’s an oval-cut gemstone, which shines the colour of the sea in a cove, and set into an Art Deco bandeau studded with diamonds.
It’s called the Aquamarine Necklace Tiara for the clever design that means it can also be worn around the neck.
However, for her wedding to Prince Edward back in 1999, Sophie shunned the aquamarine and chose a classic diamond tiara to go with her flowing white dress and veil—an unusual design featuring four lacey scrollwork motifs, and one that no royal had been pictured in previously.