Chaumet: Tiaras

Image of Chaumet Tiaras: Divine Jewels
Release Date: 
April 28, 2020
Thames & Hudson
Reviewed by: 

A tiara is defined as “a decorative jeweled or flowered headband or semicircle for formal wear by women.” That may be the dictionary’s definition, but it certainly leaves the field wide open for interpretation when it comes to the actual meaning, purpose, and rasion d’etre for such elaborate pieces of jewelry.

Chaumet Tiaras is much more than just a photo/illustration-laden book containing a vast array of these exquisite tiaras, as the authors also provide the reader with the 250-year-old legacy of the maison as well as offering the iconography and vocabulary attributed to the tiara as unique pieces of one’s jewelry collection.

The prospective reader will come to find out that tiaras appeared in  different iterations and constructions and believe it or not were not only worn by royalty, as is popularly believed, but also by the rich and blue blooded, considered a must-have accessory for a social subset of women through the ages.

“The magic of a tiara is undeniable. It radiates a power that is almost supernatural. Parisians call it dialogue avec le ciel, a conversation with heaven.”

This mega-sized volume is visually pleasing as well and textually educational when it comes to haute joallier as well as to the specifics of a tiara. This reader was not dazzled as expected by the imagery within the book nor was he disappointed, which is something that books of this genre rarely elicit. Past books on the topic of haute joallier are usually constructed with the most spectacular and arresting photography accompanied by a fair share of renderings, but in this case we are also afforded a look at the models that were the middle step between rendering and finished product. The visuals in Chaumet Tiaras will fall short of most reader’s expectations.

While the themes and documentation of each tiara are quite simply and informatively explained, the most unfortunate circumstance is that some or a majority of the described pieces described are not visually documented in any way with the accompanying descriptions. Another deficit of this volume is that the photographic imagery is a bit too contemporary, meaning that the photos are not represented in a way that inspires the viewer’s awe despite the tiaras’ intricacy and unimaginable costs. They simply look like magazine editorials of a more generic nature.

If you are interested more in the genesis of the brand and the specific classification of haute joallier, then this is a book you must own. If, however, you are in search of a jaw droppingly spectacular book with incredible photography of one-of-a-kind jewels then you might be very well be disappointed.