You are here because you want to find a genuine vintage wedding tiara for your special day. You are looking for a little glamour, for a touch of princess status, and you want your headpiece to have a history.
Vintage jewelry is any piece of jewelry that is at least 20 years old, but no more than 100 years old. If it is older than 100 years, it is considered antique.
A fashionable accessory for brides, tiaras are associated with royalty, beauty, romance, femininity, glamour, wealth, and status. Tiaras were traditionally worn by royals, but beginning in the 19th century, women who weren't royalty began purchasing them. Many tiaras were made with detachable pieces that could be worn as necklaces or brooches.
Why Wear a Vintage Tiara?
- Your tiara will have a history and story associated with it
- It is a great way to re-purpose a piece of jewelry.
- It can fit into your "wear something old" category.
- The craftsmanship of vintage jewelry is unmatched today in our world of mass-produced jewelry.
- It can become something you pass down to your children.
- They look beautiful.
- Vintage pieces can be cheaper than their modern counterparts (for the same quality).
Vintage pieces are often cheaper than their modern counterparts (for the same quality).
- They are usually one of a kind.
- Vintage jewelry holds its intrinsic value.
Do's and Don'ts of Wearing a Tiara
- Ask yourself if a tiara is suited to your dress, venue, and theme.
- Wear the tiara as your only glamorous jewelry piece.
- Make sure the style of your tiara matches the style of your dress.
- Wear the right tiara for your hairstyle.
- Make your focus this order: dress, hair, jewelry, makeup, tiara.
- Make sure your tiara is placed flat against your hair.
- Attach your veil separately, so you can take it off without removing the tiara.
- Pick a style that is has an oval frame.
- Wear a tiara that suits your face shape. A long face looks best with a round-shape tiara, a round face looks best with a pointy or tall tiara.
- Make sure the tiara will frame your face correctly, when placed on a table, the front of a tiara should lean forward a touch.
- Wear a tiara if your wedding style is casual.
- Overdo your look with a large necklace or chandelier earrings.
- Have your dress and tiara competing with each other.
- Make your tiara your statement piece.
- Have a gap between your tiara and your hair.
- Pick a tiara with a round frame, it will squeeze your head.
Proper Tiara Placement
To properly place your tiara:
- Put your thumb on the dimple of your chin and your index finger on the gap in between your eyebrows.
- Keeping that measurement, move your thumb up to where your finger was. Your index finger should now be touching the base of the tiara in your hair.
Types of Tiaras
The most formal type of tiara, and is the type you will often see on royalty. Many women consider regal tiaras to be too over the top, but if you have some serious confidence, you can pull it off. A regal tiara has more height than other types of tiara's and is best avoided by brides with a long face.
A vintage style that is very popular, it can have either a single or double row. Wishbone tiaras curve up and rise to a small point above the crown of the head. This style works well with both an up-do or loosely curled hair.
Double Band Tiara
The double band style looks more like a classic headband and is popular among modern brides. It is a versatile style that goes with many dress types and can be worn in various positions on the head.
Similar to the double band style, the headband style is a favorite low-key option. This style is worn flat against the head, making it the subtlest of the tiara styles. Headbands look lovely with loose hair for a touch of elegance. Some headband tiaras have only a side detail, such as a jeweled flower.
Bun Wrap Tiara
A bun wrap is worn further down the head and is designed to complement an updo hairstyle. Vintage bun wraps are relatively formal and are a great addition to a cathedral venue.
As the name suggests, these tiaras take inspiration from nature, and are made to look like a floral vine or wreath. Wreath tiaras offer a romantic look and pair well with Grecian goddess style wedding dresses.
Vintage Jewelry Eras
This style favored designs that featured flowing lines, plants, birds, and insects.
Art Nouveau jewelry is light, soft, mystical, and romantic. It is characterized by pale colors and curving, flowing lines. Inspiration was heavily taken from nature as well as the sensual curves of the female body. Japanese art was another big influence. During this time, jewelers were seen as artists rather than just craftsmen, and unique, one-of-a-kind pieces were common.
Elaborately decorative designs housed diamonds and pearls that were embellished with emeralds, rubies, and other brilliant gemstones.
The Edwardian era is characterized by light, graceful, and elegant designs. Platinum was just starting to be used in jewelry, because of its strength, jewelers could work it into delicate, lacy filigree designs. Women of the time preferred light and airy fabrics in pastel colors. The jewelry of the time had to be lightweight to be worn on these new, delicate fabrics.
Geometric shapes, strong lines, and bright color contrasts.
Art Deco jewelry is stylish, forward-thinking, and fun. Styles were bold, sharp, and more masculine than previous design periods. Jewelry was seen as another way to express your individuality. Brighter colors, futuristic motifs, geometric forms, and straighter designs replaced the lacy look of Edwardian jewelry and the curvy lines of Art Nouveau.
Unusual shades of gold and dazzling gemstones like citrine and aquamarine, this time period was colorful and elaborate. Pieces are often large and asymmetrical.
The Retro period is characterized by chunky styles that emphasized large colorful gemstones cut in oversized rectangles. Sometimes called "cocktail jewelry", the retro era saw jewelry that was dazzling and larger than life. Jewelry from this era was playful and whimsical, it was bigger, bolder and more exciting than ever.
During this time, platinum could no longer be used in jewelry, as it was needed for the War. This forced designers to experiment with colored gold such as yellow, rose, and green gold.
How to Buy a Genuine Vintage Wedding Tiara
Buying vintage jewelry can be a fun and rewarding experience, but with so much selection it is easy to get overwhelmed. There is a lot of fake vintage jewelry out there, either counterfeit or reproduction, so in order to find a genuine vintage tiara, there are some things you need to know.
Do Your Research
Look online at different styles of tiara. Decide what types you are drawn to and what periods they are from.
Find a Reputable Seller
It is of the upmost importance that you find a reputable seller. You will have a much better shopping experience and walk away with a better piece of jewelry by going to someone with knowledge and a dedication to customer satisfaction.
Shopping online is a great way to find vintage tiaras. A good seller wants an informed consumer, they will provide all the information needed for you to make a comfortable purchase - this will include descriptive and gemological details, clear and detailed photos, any relevant GIA certificates, dates of manufacture, carat weights, condition, and so on.
Avoid sellers with no return policy. A store should stand behind their products, and the only way to prove that they do, is to allow returns.
Pay Attention to Details
When looking to purchase vintage jewelry, it is important to look into the condition of the piece you are considering. If you are shopping online, you can ask the seller about the condition, and you can inspect the photographs.
Look for cracks or chips, loose stones, corrosion, holes, bumps, or anything that could affect the integrity of the piece. A vintage tiara should be in mint to good condition if you want to be able to pass it down.
Tips on Spotting a Fake
Many jewelers leave a signature mark on their creations, but this is not always done. The best way to avoid a counterfeit piece is to go to a seller you can trust.
Some red flags that a piece is not truly vintage are:
- the seller has multiples of the same item
- the price is significantly cheaper than similar items from other sellers.
Where to Buy Your Vintage Tiara
Etsy is my Favorite Place to Buy Vintage Tiaras Online
On Etsy, do a search for "antique tiaras" and you will find a large selection of both vintage and antique. Make sure you click on the vintage tab on the left hand side to browse only vintage items.
I hope that this guide helps you in your search for the perfect vintage tiara, a tiara that makes you feel like a princess on your special day.
When you are armed with the right knowledge, buying a vintage tiara can be a pleasurable experience. Now go buy your new tiara! If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments below, I will do my best to help you out.