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Traditionally, the word "tiara" refers to a high crown, often with the shape of a cylinder narrowed at its top, made of fabric or leather, and richly ornamented. It was used by the kings and emperors of some ancient peoples in Anatolia and Mesopotamia, notably the Hittites. The Assyrians used to include a pair of bull horns as a decoration and symbol of authority and a circle of short feathers surrounding the tiara's top. The Persian tiara was more similar to a truncated cone, without the horns and feathers but more jewels, and a conic-shaped tip at its top.
In the Roman Catholic Church, the Papal tiara is a high cap surrounded by three crowns and bearing a globe surmounted by a cross worn by the Pope during certain ceremonies, being the symbol of his authority. Since Pope Paul VI set aside his tiara after the Second Vatican Council, the Papal Tiara has not been worn. Pope Benedict XVI even removed the tiara from his coat of arms, replacing it with a mitre (but with some symbolic reference to the symbolism of the tiara, still in use in the Holy See's coat of arms).Royal tiarasQueen Alexandra (wearing the Russian Kokoshnik Tiara), with her daughter Louise, Princess Royal (far left wearing the Fife Tiara) and mother Queen Louise of Denmark, all wearing tiaras.Tiara of the duchesse d'Angoulême, Paris 1814 (Louvre)
While the Papal tiara is a type of a crown, tiaras as a type of an adornment not indicating any specific rank are regularly worn by royal and noble ladies; they are merely pieces of jewelry and can be worn by anyone even though they are most commonly associated with royalty. Queen Elizabeth II is said to have the largest and most valuable collection of tiaras in the world, many of which are heirlooms of the British Royal Family. She is often seen wearing them on state occasions. Her personal collection of tiaras is considered to be priceless. The Queen received many of them through inheritance, especially from Queen Alexandra. Queen Mary, consort of King George V, purchased the Grand Duchess Vladimir tiara in the 1920s. It consists of numerous interlocking diamond circles. Pearl drops can be attached inside the circles or emeralds. Queen Mary had a tiara made for the Delhi Durbar held in 1911 in India. It is now on loan for wearing by the Duchess of Cornwall, wife of Charles, Prince of Wales. Queen Elizabeth II commissioned a ruby and diamond tiara. A gift of aquamarines she received as a present from the people of Brazil were added to diamonds to make a new tiara.
Other queens, empresses and princesses regularly wear tiaras at formal evening occasions. The Swedish Royal Family have a magnificent collection as do the Danish, the Dutch, and Spanish monarchies. Many of the Danish royal jewels originally came into the collection when Princess Louise of Sweden married the future King Frederick VIII of Denmark. The Romanov dynasty had a superb collection up until the revolution of 1917.Other tiarasRussian Empress in kokoshnik, 19th century.
Kokoshnik is part of traditional Russian headdress, similar to Ukrainian vinok and ochipok.
Although usually associated with women of reigning and noble families, tiaras have been worn by commoners as well, especially rich American socialites like Barbara Hutton, although this has been perceived as bizarre and pretentious as tiaras were normally reserved for blue-blooded ladies. They are generally a semi-circular or circular band, often metal, and decorated with real or fake jewels and are worn as a form of adornment. They are worn by women around their head or on the forehead as a circlet on very formal or high social occasions. Tiaras are frequently used to "crown" the winners of beauty pageants.
Tiaras are common jewelry in Indian weddings. In other countries the wedding dress is often accompanied by a tiara as well.Fiction
Superheroines Wonder Woman and Sailor Moon are usually depicted wearing a tiara; both tiaras can be thrown as weapons. All the other Sailor Senshi wear tiaras as well. The fictional character Isis wears a tiara decorated with the horned sun symbol of Hathor. Fictional tiaras are often worn over the forehead, instead of on top of the head as they are traditionally pictured.
Princesses in fiction also commonly wear tiaras. She-Ra, who is both a superhero and a princess, wears a golden tiara.Popular culture
The name of the South Korean pop girl group T-ara is based on the term "tiara", which the group has interpreted to mean the idea that they will become the "crowned queens of the music industry".