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The Crawley Tiara in “Downton Abbey”



The Crawley tiara in “Downton Abbey”
Image credit: NBCUniversal Television Distribution & WGBH Boston

Although Revenge is a good choice for ogling jewelry, no contemporary TV series is probably more loaded with gems than Downton Abbey. Set in a fictional Yorkshire estate, when it debuted in 2010, it was the Edwardian era and the Titanic had just sunk. The fifth season concluded last year and a sixth has been commissioned.

From the first episode of the first season through the last episode of the fifth season, the viewers have been regaled with stunning period jewelry. It shouldn’t be surprising. Downton Abbey is about the aristocratic Crawley family headed by Robert Crawley, Earl of Grantham, who married Cora Levinson, the daughter of a Jewish millionaire. They have three grown daughters — Mary, Edith and Sybil (the youngest died in the third season).

Aristocrats, Edwardian era through the roaring 20s, attractive wife and daughters, vast estate, lavish dinner parties… with a formula like that, it’s hard to imagine the women not wearing jewelry. And they do. Almost every episode has some gasp-worthy piece. One piece stands out though — the tiara that Lady Mary Crawley wore at her wedding to her cousin Matthew.

The Crawley tiara in “Downton Abbey”

credits: NBCUniversal Television Distribution & WGBH Boston

Considering that Lady Mary wore it on more than one occasion, and considering that her sister Lady Edith wore it too on her (aborted) wedding, we can assume that the tiara is part of the family heirloom. In the series, at least.

In real life, the tiara is owned by London-based jeweller Bentley & Skinner and it was loaned for use in the series. Valued at £125,000.00, the tiara is described as “a garland spray of leaves and floral clusters, pave-set throughout with old-cut diamonds, weighing an estimated total of 45 carats, cutdown collet-set in silver to a yellow gold mount, convertible to two brooches, gross weight 75.5 grams on frame, circa 1800.” Yes, it’s old, and it has quite a history too.

Dailymail says, “Now known as the Myrtle Tiara after its leaf motif, it was a gift from the Sassoon family to HRH Princess Louise, the Princess Royal, eldest daughter of King Edward VII, on her marriage to the 6th Earl Fife in 1889. Traditionally myrtle is a symbol of love and fidelity, and it was a felicitous choice for the couple, who were devoted to one another and had three children… The tiara is actually in two parts, attached with a clasp, and can be used separately as brooches, which Princess Louise often did.”

For brides who want to re-create the Lady Mary Crawley look, Instyle says that the tiara is “available for rent at around $2,000 per day (including a hefty deposit of roughly $200,000).” Too pricey? Try cheap knockoffs like this vintage wreath tiara for £88.00.