When I was six years-old and shopping in Bloomingdales with my mother to find “something pretty” after I had an appendectomy, I spotted what I knew would transport me from the girl with a scar on my stomach that rivaled the one on Frankenstein’s head to a beautiful princess. It was a glittery tiara-like headband that dripped with rhinestones from every angle. I just had to have it. To get me out of the store without a tantrum (and what I later found out my mom found to be an ostentatious piece) she explained, “I am so sorry but this is reserved for a duchess from a far away land and we will need to find you something else worthy of your beauty and grace.” She was good! So good, that the sales people were in awe. We found a smaller floral seed pearl version of a tiara, which was more suited to my pint size frame. And, since that time I always believed what my mother said as we walked out of the store—“honey, you truly have royal taste.”
So for me, and all other women who still have the princess living someone inside, this has been a big year. I might sit at the computer in sweatpants, but since I write about jewelry and regal gems, I get to see them up close and I am lucky enough to try them on, more often then most.
This year was focused on ornate pieces with history. There was the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee this summer that turned into an exhibit at Buckingham Palace, which ran through Oct 7, 2012 and presented a range of enchanting pieces from England’s monarchy. There were the galas, award presentations and fall 2012 ready-to-wear and Couture shows, which had actresses and models crowned in tiaras and draped in gemstone laden jewels.
Last Tuesday, October 9, 2012, there was the launch of Chanel’s latest fine jewelry collection and a celebration of the 80th Anniversary of the first one Chanel designed in 1932, “Bijoux de Diamants”. Today, there is even a tiara in the new collection, which will be on display with the other jewelry in a special space MoMA has created, replete with it’s own planetarium.
Speaking of Chanel and lavish jewels, Next month, Tolstoy’s sweeping epic novel will hit the silver screen and bring us back to late 19th century high society Russia. Adapted by Joe Wright, with costumes designed by Jacqueline Durran, Chanel Joaillerie has provided the opulent jewels for Keira Knightley (in the leading role) including a pearl sautoir and a diamond necklace with a camellia motif..
Luckily for women who want these regal statement looks at various price points, there are many designers taking their cue from the cultural influences which have shaped this past year: Penny Preville, with her Mogul India inspired and Imperial Russian influenced collections, Faberge’s new collection of egg-shaped pendants, Jacob & Co. larger than life pieces, Yewn and Wendy Yue’s fantasy one-of-a-kind baubles, featured at Fragments, Emily Keifer and Karen Karch’s tiara rings, as well as one that I made for my collection Bethany B jewelry. There is also a host of “fashion jewelry” that will turn you into a ‘duchess from a faraway land’ at a more accessible price point, including the collaboration between Durran, Focus Films and Banana Republic which recently launched its Anna Karenina collection exclusively at Banana Republic North America retail locations and online.
So for all of you women, who still covet tiaras and would love to be dripping in gems, may you always be in touch with your childhood and the young princess inside of you…and may you always have the opportunity to show your own “royal taste.”