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Friday, April 1, 2011

A Tiara Fit for a Princess

The Royal Asscher tiara superimposed onto Kate Middleton.

Royal Asscher Diamonds has created a sparking tiara for Catherine Middleton to celebrate her royal wedding.

The Amsterdam-based diamond company said the tiara was designed to highlight Middleton’s beauty. Created by Toronto-based jewelry designer Reena Ahluwalia for Royal Asscher, the bejeweled headpiece, currently in production, is set with 36 Royal Asscher Cut diamonds, as well as pear and round shaped white diamonds. The vintage inspired piece is placed on the forehead, inspired by the Strathmore Tiara placement.

"Flowers and buds represent nature's most beautiful creations and here they symbolize the blossomed love between Catherine and Prince William. Royal Asscher wishes the couple all the best and a happy marriage,” Ahluwalia said, adding that she “imbued the tiara with romance and wishes for love that is long-lasting.”

Lita Asscher, president of Royal Asscher Diamond Company, said the tiara's design is an homage to the upcoming Royal Wedding and to the Royal Asscher diamonds that grace Great Britain's Crown Jewels.

The idea, she said, is to, "Bring back the love for royal pieces and show that the tiara does not have to be old fashioned, but can be beautiful and romantic and modern all in one."

Lita Asscher, also said that this tiara will not be duplicated. "It is so unique that we would only make one."

If Middleton does choose to wear a crown on her wedding day, she will no doubt select one from the royal collection. However, it is not out-of-the-question that the Royal Asscher tiara would be worn by Middleton in some capacity, particularly when taking into account the Asscher family dynasty’s influence on the diamond industry and on Great Britain’s Crown Jewels since establishing the family owned company business in 1854.

In 1902, The Asscher Diamond Company cut the Excelsior diamond, found in 1893 and weighing 971¾ carats, into ten stones. It was the largest known diamond in the world until 1907, when the larger Cullinan diamond was found.

The Cullinan diamond is the largest rough gem-quality diamond ever found, at 3,106 carats. The diamond was presented to Great Britain’s King Edward VII who asked the Asscher brothers, Joseph and Abraham, to cleave it. Joseph cut the stone into 9 large gems and 42 small gems. The largest polished gem from the stone is named the Cullinan I, also known as the Great Star of Africa, at 530.4 carats. The second largest gem from the Cullinan stone is called the Cullinan II, or the Lesser Star of Africa, weighing 317.4 carats. Both stones can be found on Great Britain’s Crown Jewels.

The Imperial State Crown (pictured above), one of the Crown Jewels, contains the Cullinan II, the Black Prince’s Ruby and the Stuart Sapphire. It has a total 2,868 diamonds, 273 pearls, 17 sapphires, 11 emeralds and 5 rubies. The Crown Jewels are worn by Queen Elizabeth II at the opening of Parliament and at the conclusion of the Coronation service. As the most frequently worn royal crown, the Imperial State Crown has constantly been replaced. Due to its constant usage, it is also the crown that requires the most outside repairs and recasting. 

The Crown Jewels also include the Sovereign’s Sceptre (pictured above), atop which the Great Star of Africa, or Cullinan I is mounted. The Sceptre was especially redesigned after the discovery of the Cullinan diamond. The Great Star of Africa can be removed from the Sceptre to be worn as a brooch.

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