If you’re about to get married this summer—perhaps a year or so later than you’d hoped due to the pandemic—I have to imagine that the reigning approach to planning and prep is “Life is short, why hold back?” You do not cut corners. You do the Champagne tower and the vodka luge.
Certainly this mindset would also have to apply to the gown and accessories. Which makes any inclination to wear a gorgeous antique diamond tiara for the festivities seem completely reasonable. But even the spendiest soon-to-be-wed may have trouble justifying a million-dollar budget for the headpiece alone. And it’s not like you can just grab one at your local department store.
More doable would be renting an antique diamond tiara—like a star borrowing jewels for a red carpet event. Enter Hancocks London, the heritage jeweler based in London’s Mayfair district, which has just rolled out this type of service, offering its curated inventory of historic tiaras for weddings taking place in 2021 and 2022.
“There has definitely been a steady increase in interest in ‘grown-up’ tiaras recently and we’ve particularly noticed it over the last few months,” said Guy Burton, director of Hancocks London, in a prepared statement. “We have bought and sold some beautiful traditional antique tiaras over the last year—despite the pandemic—with a fabulous Edwardian diamond and ruby tiara selling just last week within days of going on the website.”
Burton attributes the tiara mania to period dramas like Downton Abbey, Bridgerton, and The Crown.
“In the wake of the pandemic there seems to be a real focus on the ‘buy better’ ethos, and people are willing to invest money in a substantial piece of jewelry that they can wear forever and then pass down,” Burton added in the same statement. “With that in mind, part of the appeal of these traditional tiaras is their versatility, as the majority of them will convert into a necklace, and some can even be adapted to wear as brooches or smaller hair ornaments. This gives the piece flexibility and more occasions [on which to wear it, offering] better value for money.”
How it works:
The fee to rent a tiara is 1% of the retail value plus VAT for a period of 24 hours. A minimum charge of £100 ($140) plus VAT per day is applicable. A refundable deposit of the full retail value of the item in cleared funds is required. And the tiara must be returned in the condition in which it left the shop. Customers are also asked to cover the item via temporary insurance certificate.
Burton has observed that “a beautifully crafted tiara really does highlight a bride’s face given the [high] carat weight of the [diamonds] and, when they try it on, it really transforms their posture and you visibly see their excitement at wearing it.”
More good news: Renting a tiara is a rather magical way for a bride to cover their “something old” and “something borrowed” requirements.
Two of the Hancocks London tiaras for hire, below (more up top).
Top: Circa 1900 Victorian leaf motif tiara with pear-shape, old mine, and old European–cut diamonds, £65,000 ($92,007). All images courtesy of Hancocks London.
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