Tiara and diadem are two ornamental headdresses typically worn by royalty or nobility. Both basically refer to a jewelled crown or headband women wear as a symbol of sovereignty. Let’s see their features in detail and some interesting facts to understand the difference between tiara and diadem, if any.
However, in today’s fashion world, these two words are synonyms.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What is a Tiara
3. What is a Diadem
4. Difference Between Tiara and Diadem
What is a Tiara?
A tiara is an ornamental crown embedded with jewels, traditionally worn by women. They are generally a circular or semi-circular band adorned with precious metal and gems. Women wear them around their head or on the forehead as a circlet.
Traditionally, only women of royal families such as queens, empresses and princesses or women of high noble families such as duchesses wore tiaras. But later on, common people like rich socialites also began to wear tiaras.
Figure 01: Queen Elizabeth II wearing the Vladimir Tiara
At present, royal ladies wear tiaras for formal occasions, but in the past, tiaras were every-day wear for ladies of royal families. Thus, you can especially notice royal ladies wearing tiaras for white-tie events.
Here are some interesting traditions regarding tiaras:
- Unmarried young women usually don’t wear tiaras – tiaras are for married royal ladies
- Tiaras are for evening affairs.
- Most ladies wear tiaras for formal occasions.
Of course, not all women follow these traditions, so you’ll also see many exceptions to these.
British royal family is said to have the largest tiara collection in the world, many of which are heirlooms of the royal family.
Some Famous Tiaras
The Cartier Halo tiara – Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge wore this tiara during her wedding to Prince William.
The Grand Duchess Vladimir Tiara – Originally owned by Russian Grand Duchess Vladimir, this now belongs to Queen Elizabeth II. This comes with two different types stones to swap: pearls and emeralds.
Cambridge Lover’s knot tiara – Worn by Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth II, Princess Diana as well as Duchess of Cambridge.
Figure 02: Princess Diana wearing Cambridge Lover’s Knot Tiara
Queen Mary Fringe Tiara – This tiara, based on a traditional Russian kokoshnik headdress, is the tiara Queen Elizabeth II wore to her wedding. This can also be worn as a necklace.
What is a Diadem?
A diadem is a jewelled crown or headband worn as a sign of sovereignty. It originates from a headband worn by ancient Romans and Greek, but over time it has become more decorative. Therefore, the word diadem comes from Greek diadein meaning “to bind around”.
Figure 03: Diadem of Stéphanie de Beauharnais
Some even say that all other royal head ornaments including crowns, tiaras, and coronets are subcategories of diadems.
What is the Difference Between Tiara and Diadem?
- From what we discussed above, both tiara and diadem are jewelled crown or headband.
- Therefore, in today’s world of fashion, most people often use these two words interchangeably.
- Hence, there is no significant difference between tiara and diadem in today’s world of fashion.
Summary – Tiara vs Diadem
Both tiara and diadem refer to jewelled crown or headband royal or noble women wear. Thus, there is no significant difference between tiara and diadem. Both these words can be used interchangeably.
1.“Tiara.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 29 July 2018. Available here
1.”Queen Elizabeth II 1959″By Unknown / Library and Archives Canada (CC BY 2.0) via Commons Wikimedia
2.”37382590136″ by Robert Sullivan (Public Domain) via Flickr
3.”Diadem of Stéphanie de Beauharnais”By Unknown, (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia
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