Tiaras and Social Change the long and fabulous history of the queen of accessories

By Kathleen McDermott

From August to November 2017, I made a drawing a day and posted to "My Daily Sketchbook," an on-line portfolio of 100 illustrations exploring history of fashion. There you'll see divas, tiaras, hats, hair-dos, women's history, and more.

30 drawings are presented below in an illustrated slideshow exploring the tiara's role as social and cultural barometer of change over time.

View my entire daily drawing portfolio on my Pinterest archive.

Or follow my daily sketches on Instagram.

origins: tiaras are Ancient

Early Christian and Medieval Tiaras were worn Only by God's Representatives on Earth

Tiaras go into brief eclipse in the 18th Century

Tiaras re-emerge in the 19th Century associated with Meritocracy

Tiaras worn by 19th-century opera singers signify self-made wealth and Individual agency

Early 20th-Century Tiaras become ubiquitous fashion accessories that follow art trends

People don't wear Jeweled tiaras much anymore

But Contemporary artists are reinterpreting this ancient art form

Invasive Species: American Tiara by Jan Yager, 2001. Oxidized silver and 18 carat gold.

Pendant tiara by Wendy Ramshaw of silver starbursts, 2001.

To learn more about Tiaras:

Cartier. Hans Nadelhoffer. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 2007.

French Crown Jewels, The. Bernard Morel. Antwerp: Fonds Mercator, 1988.

Tiara. Diana Scarisbrick. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 2000.

Tiaras: A History of Splendour. Geoffrey Munn. Woodbridge, Suffolk, UK: Antique Collectors Club, 2001.

Tiaras: Past and Present. Geoffrey Munn. New York: Abrams, 2002.

More fashion history at

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