Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Tiara Time: Princess Charlene's Van Cleef & Arpels Ocean Tiara

Van Cleef & Arpels has been the official supplier to the Principality of Monaco since 1956. It came as no surprise when Prince Albert commissioned the Parisian jeweller to create a necklace that can be worn as a tiara as a wedding gift for his bride, then Charlene Wittstock.

Van Cleef & Arpels

In honour of her background as an Olympic swimmer, the diamond and sapphire piece is composed of 1,200 gemstones crafted into circular elements evoking the sea. Prince Albert appropriately chose the name 'Ocean' for the sparkling piece.

Van Cleef & Arpels

The necklace includes different shades of sapphires capturing different sea colours as well as pear-cut diamonds to suggest water droplets.

Van Cleef & Arpels

More on the composition from Van Cleef & Arpels:

'Ripples shimmer on a ribbon of white gold and round-cut diamonds.
The frothy lace of diamonds sparkles with the water’s reflections and diffuses into fabulous asymmetrical circles. The waters of the sea, made of blue sapphires, carry 11 pear-cut diamonds in their gentle swell. Océan, the necklace, transforms into a royal tiara.

883 round-cut diamonds, weighing a total of over 44 carats. 10 pear-cut diamonds, weighing a total of over 4 carats. A 4.01 carat pear-cut diamond. 359 round-cut sapphires for over a total of 18 carats, in a colour gradation of 3 hues.'

The jeweller described the piece as a "pledge of love, offered by the prince to his princess. Ocean exalts the grace and elegance of the bride". In the fascinating video below you will see the creative process and meticulous work applied to designing such a timeless piece of jewellery. An immense amount of planning and consideration went into ensuring it was very much a piece that represented Charlene and her love of the ocean.



We first saw Charlene wear the Ocean tiara as a necklace at the Red Cross Ball in 2011.


It looked simply stunning and Charlene allowed the piece to take centre stage while wearing a simple no-frills, strapless gown and an elegant updo.


We first saw Charlene wear the piece as a tiara for an exclusive interview with Hola! and it was instantly evident how well it suited her. Charlene's style tends to be minimalistic with regard to her clothing, jewellery, and hairstyle choices. The tiara provided a 'Wow' factor for the shoot.

Hola!

Another look from the shoot.

Hola!

Charlene didn't wear the tiara during the wedding festivities because she loaned it to the Oceanographic museum; in fact, it's been part of several exhibits since. Below we see Her Serene Highness posing beside the tiara at a Van Cleef & Arpels exhibition launch in Paris in September 2012.


You'll notice the drop earrings Charlene wore for the exhibition appear to be part of a set with the tiara containing the same diamond and sapphire circle.


I'm enormously surprised by how seldom Charlene has opted to wear the necklace/tiara. There have been many functions in the last couple of years when it would have been a perfect choice for the occasion. Here's hoping it gets another outing soon! What do you think of it? Do you like it? I personally tend to prefer classic tiaras with a strong history, however as modern designs go, this is one of my favourites!

11 comments:

  1. Absolutely STUNNING piece of jewelry either as the necklace or tiara. I love it and it is so great that is was designed to personally fit her and her interests. As someone who loves the ocean as well, it is a magnificent representation. Too bad she doesn't wear it that often. If my husband had given this to me, I would wear it every chance I had!

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  2. Julia from Leominster16 June 2015 at 23:29

    I think my comment got lost - sorry if it proves to be a repeat. I appreciate this wonderful write-up. I didn't care much for the tiara when I first saw it in Hello! but understanding the design - and all the subtle details such as the drops of water and the sapphires and realising what a personal piece it is to both Charlene and to Albert with his interest in the sea makes me see it in a very different light.

    I do think that inverted V is hard shape to wear especially with Charlene's simple haircut. It is a better necklace but I don't think her pink gown does it justice - the colouring of the sapphires disappear in it - a white gown or one in the sublte shade of blue would be better - I was thinking blue velvet - Charlene once wore a truly stunning velvet gown.

    Charlene miminalist style doesn't lend itself to fancy jewellery but I hope she finds a way to wear this more often. She has such wonderful shoulders that strapless gown look very well both on her and show off the necklace. I recalled Grace Kelly in a similar gown in To Catch a Thief when I saw these pictures, - and her line when Cary Grant's character tells her the necklace is immitation and she retorts "but I'm not."

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    Replies
    1. I love the ocean too and I appreciate the significance of this piece. But I do agree that the pink gown does nothing for it. White or various shades of blue, even lavender or purple, would be a better backdrop for it.

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  3. I'm quite surprised that, given the fact that diamonds and sapphires are my two favorite stones, I don't love this. Don't care for it as a tiara with the hairstyle she has on the magazine cover; I like it better as a necklace. She was an Olympic swimmer so it acknowledges that as well.

    Agree that a differnt color gown would set it off better; the silvery grey on the magazine coverwould be nicer or a lovely blue. I'd like to see it as a tiara with a different hairstyle and set differently on her head.

    And after I've said all that, it must be noted that Mr. bluhare has never had any tiara designed for me.

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    Replies
    1. rose from Brooklyn17 June 2015 at 11:50

      Lol. Bluhare. I love u. U made me giggle out loud. Charlotte. Fabulous post. I know I hardly comment but I read every single post and comment. Thx for amazing job! !!!

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    2. Thank you Rose, although how can you laugh at my sadness at not owning a tiara. It is a huge void in my life. :)

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    3. Julia from Leominster18 June 2015 at 18:42

      Alas, Mr Leo never has either, although when asked to express an opinion on this one, he said he didn't know how he would keep it on his (bald) head. So thinking he doesn't have quite the idea.

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  4. I think you read my mind! I was just thinking "I wish there was another tiara post" :) I love this! I know it's modern but perhaps that's what makes it special; it gets to make history now.

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  5. Lauri from Ca.17 June 2015 at 20:11

    I agree with you Charlotte, I too like the traditional style tiara best. However this is a stunning piece, better as a necklace than a tiara in my opinion. Although, the hairstyle she wore this tiara with just didn't look right, so maybe with a different hairstyle this piece will be stunning as a tiara as well. All that being said it's rather romantic, the thought and effort Albert put into this gift for his new wife, with all the drama surrounding their wedding it's nice to know that he does care for her and took her interests and style into account when creating this gorgeous piece.

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  6. I may be in the minority, but I prefer is as a tiara because the "waves" (my definition) are above the surface vs. below it. I hope that makes sense.... :)

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    Replies
    1. Julia from Leominster18 June 2015 at 18:39

      I see the point - it makes better sense as a tiara but looks better as a necklace.

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