A rare feathered diamond tiara that screams 1920s glamour

Aigrette tiaras occasionally turn up for auction, but very rarely with the actual feathers

A rare aigrette tiara headdress with a diamond spray that is convertible to a brooch, with attachments of a tortoiseshell comb (right), tiara and a crest of white egret’s feathers, which are up for auction

A rare aigrette tiara headdress with a diamond spray that is convertible to a brooch, with attachments of a tortoiseshell comb (right), tiara and a crest of white egret’s feathers, which are up for auction

 

Feathers were popular fashion accessories for women in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Late Victorian and Edwardian photographs of high-society ladies often depict them wearing hats decorated with exotic plumes. Ostriches, ospreys, hummingbirds and egrets were regarded as having the most desirable plumage.

Millions of birds were hunted and slaughtered on both sides of the Atlantic to satisfy demand from milliners in cities including New York, London, Paris and Dublin.

Feathers declined in popularity after the first World War, and – combined with legislation to protect wildlife – the fashion had pretty much vanished by the second World War.

As well as adorning wide-brimmed hats, beautiful feathers were sometimes worn in an aigrette – a piece of jewellery named after the French word for egret, the wading bird whose snow-white plumage was especially prized. Aigrette tiaras occasionally turn up for auction, but very rarely with the actual feathers. John Weldon Auctioneers in Temple Bar Dublin has such a piece coming up in his auction on July 19th.

Described as “a wonderful 1920s fine antique diamond aigrette tiara headdress”, the lot consists of “a diamond spray convertible to a brooch, also with attachments of a tortoise- shell hair comb, tiara and a crest of white egret’s feathers, all in a fitted box by Collingwood & Co of 46 Conduit Street, London”.

This genuine rarity goes on view today from noon in the saleroom at Unit 2, The Music Hall, Cows Lane, Temple Bar, Dublin.

The estimate is €3,000-€5,000.

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