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Tiaras - A History of Splendour Hardcover – December 1, 2001

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"...lavish and beautifully illustrated new study...[Geoffrey Munn's] text is perfectly balanced between sober art and historical chops (as when discussing three tiaras designed by Prince Albert for Queen Victoria) and giddy appreciation (discussing a tiara made for drag comedienne Dame Edna Everage" Publishers Weekly

About the Author

Geoffrey Munn is the Managing Director of Wartski Ltd, a firm of antique dealers in London specialising in European precious metalwork. He is co-author of Pre-Raphaelite to Arts and Crafts Jewellery and author of both Castellani and Giuliano - Revivalist Jewellers of the 19th Century and The Triumph of Love - Jewellery 1530-1930. He is also the jewellery specialist on the BBC's Antiques Roadshow.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Antique Collectors Club Dist; First Edition edition (December 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1851493751
  • ISBN-13: 978-1851493753
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 1.6 x 11.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #563,356 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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52 of 52 people found the following review helpful By Catherine S. Vodrey on August 4, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Geoffrey Munn's superb "Tiaras" is a treat in every possible sense of the word. I'll be perfectly frank in admitting that I bought the book purely to drool over the photographs (which are sumptuous). And yet without intending to be educated, I ended up learning a great deal from Munn's concise and accurate text.
Munn has served as the jewelry consultant and appraiser for the BBC version of "Antiques Roadshow" for some years, and his expertise is immediately evident in "Tiaras." He gives a detailed-but-never-overwhelming history of these crown-like adornments, from ancient Egypt and Rome (where they began as wreaths of foliage worn by nobility) all the way through the 20th century.
You would think that only bejewelled tiaras would be represented here, but this is not the case. Of course there are magnificent examples in all manner of precious metals and faceted gemstones, but there is also a variety of unusual pieces, such as . . .
. . . a black-and-white banded agate tiara designed specifically for use when the wearer is in mourning;
. . . an improbably lovely washed beechwood (yes, wood!) tiara designed by Queen Elizabeth's nephew, Viscount Linley, a famed furniture designer, and modeled here by his lovely wife;
. . . a rock-crystal tiara hand-engraved with Russian arabesques and set with a shimmering array of rose-cut and brilliant diamonds;
. . . a foliate-and-floral tiara in which the three-dimensional elements decorating the piece are set "en tremblant," meaning that they quiver as though alive with every subtle movement of the wearer's head;
. . .
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Jessica Kerr on March 12, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This is a beautiful book with lots of photos (many in color) of tiaras from the past to the near present, focusing mainly on the 1800-1960s (although the Spenser tiara that Diana wore is shown and described). The author provides detailed descriptions of the jewelry, from close-up detailed photos to its origin and history. He has photos of the Romanov tiaras and other jewelry, as well as Empress Josephine's and Empress Marie-Eugenie's. He also includes the English royal tiaras - from Queen Victoria, Princess Margaret, and Elizabeth, among others. He also includes some of more the more beautiful, but less well-known tiaras from the Greek, Romanian, and Spanish royal familes.
If you love jewelry and/or if you follow royal families, take a peek at this book.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Sarah Lewis on May 30, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This is the first comprehensive history of tiaras as objects in their own right, not as items in histories of particular jewellers. The book is sumptiously produced with fantastic illustrations - the photos are incredible - and the text is engrossing. If you are interested in jewellery then this book is essential! As well as looking in great detail at royal jewels, aristocratic jewels are also considered as well as ones made of modern materials such as plastic.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By B. Weaves on August 12, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Oh my God! This is serious eye candy. The photos are huge and clearly detailed. The book is huge. You'll never get through just looking at all the pictures in one sitting. There's lots of good information about the tiaras, too. Considering that you can spend $20 on a paperback with no photos, I would definitely advise you to spring for the $47 for this huge book that has lots of colorful photographs of some of the most amazing jewels in the world. [...]
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Beverley Strong on May 10, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This is a large coffee table book which would grace any table in the world with its magnificent photographs of the tiaras belonging to royalty, the rich and famous and museums. The display of diamonds and precious gemstones is breathtaking, showing the many different styles which came and went in fashion, some delicate and dainty and others, gaudy and cumbersome, but all of them with jewels which are stunning in their beauty. I enjoyed the written descriptions and stories which accompany them as much as the photos, as I hadn't any idea that these magnificent pieces were so often broken up and reassembled to suit a new owner's taste, and the history of the jewels are a lesson in history on their own, with the shape and size of the headpieces reflecting the fashion of the day as well as the prevailing life style of the owner. Even tiaras given by Queen Elizabeth 2 to members of her own family have been altered to suit the taste of the recipient, as one I noticed...the aquamarine and diamond tiara given to Princess Anne, the Princess Royal, has been reduced in size from a full tiara to a more comfortable diadem which sits more easily on the front of the head. This is a book which one could have on a coffee table for years, to browse through and never tire of looking at it.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 29, 2002
Format: Hardcover
For anyone who has ever wanted to more about the history and the story behind a particular Tiara, or anyone who has been curious about those fabulous jewels of the royals, this book is an absolute MUST HAVE!!! It's completely filled with information and color close-up photographs of THOUSANDS of Tiaras. I haven't been able to put it down since receiving it and I will treasure it as much as I treasure "In Royal Fashion". If you LOVE British history, own "The Queen's Jewels", or are just entirely curious about this facinating subject...you MUST buy this book and treasure it.
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