I don’t know about you, but I’ve found myself watching a little more TV during the Covid lockdown. I tried some new shows, but most of them just didn’t hold my attention. So I’ve gone back to my old favorite Downton Abbey. I had skipped the movie when it first came out. Work was busy and I just didn’t get there. But with my renewed interest in the Crawleys, I thought it was about time. Was the movie itself epic? Well, in a word, no. It was, however, well done. And did the Tiaras of Downton Abbey disappoint? Absolutely not!
It’s impossible to tell which are real and which are costume, just from watching in the movie. I had to go do some digging to get the scoop for you. Let’s start with the Dowager Countess. I have loved all of her quips and snipes over the years. And she’s always dressed to the hilt. Her tiara in one of the grand ball scenes was perfect for her, I thought. Loaned to the production company by Bentley Skinner (and since sold), the Victorian diamond piece with the scroll work and the 2.25ct central old cut diamond…. yum.
But let’s not skip over Lady Mary’s bandeau, which is so perfect for a period movie set in 1927! It was created by tiara lover, enthusiast and fine crystal jeweler, Andrew Prince. Yes, this one is costume, but that just means that you and I can have one similar to wear on our Target runs each Saturday (don’t think I won’t do it – he has a star piece, similar to the one he made for Lady Edith in the finale, that I can’t stop looking at).
The ever affable and kind Lady Grantham wasn’t to be outdone. She also wore a Bentley Skinner piece, also now sold, which is my favorite of the movie. It’s an Edwardian diamond stunner with roughly 8 carats of old brilliant and old rose cuts in foliate swags. Not too much. Not too little. Just the right amount of sparkle. I dream of wearing it to….. well….. anywhere!
And then there was Lady Edith. Didn’t we all pull for her through the whole series and now she’s the highest ranking noble of the Crawleys, married to her Lord Hexham? There were two tiaras of hers that I loved. Another Victorian piece, provided by Bentley Skinner, totaling about 15cts, with nine larger diamonds set atop fleur-de-lys motifs.
But maybe the tiara of all tiaras in the film was the one worn by “Queen Mary.” We know how that woman loved her jewels and so the costuming department had their work cut out for them. But they proved their mettle. The Queen was shown wearing a replica of the Vladimir Tiara with its emerald drops, styled with pieces from the Delhi Durbar Parure, also in replica form. It wouldn’t have been uncommon for her to pair her Cambridge emeralds in the tiara, along with the Parure and other pieces and so it was very believable in the film. Excellent work!
Which of the tiaras in the film was your favorite? It’s so hard to choose! But I’d love to hear what you have to say, so share your thoughts with me in the comments. I’ll be over here waiting to read them, while I re-watch another episode of the series or two.