The Imperial Chrysanthemum Tiara
The Imperial Chrysanthemum tiara, like the Meiji Scroll Tiara, is for the exclusive use of the Empress of Japan. This tiara was formed for Empress Kōjun (1903-2000) using a diamond chrysanthemum stomacher that had belonged to Empress Teimei (1884-1951). Empress Teimei was the mother-in-law of Empress Kōjun. It now belongs to Empress Michiko, daughter-in-law of Empress Kōjun.
The tall, all diamond tiara consists of chrysanthemum, or just mum, blossoms surrounded by foliage. There are 2 things to note about this tiara that are uniquely japanese: the color and the flower.
The chrysanthemum was not chosen at random to be the centerpiece of the tiara or stomacher. In fact, it has great meaning with the Imperial Family and all of Japan. Representing longevity and rejuvenation, the chrysanthemum was introduced to Japan during the Nara period of 710-793 AC. Many members of the imperial family believed the plant to have healing properties and the power to prolong people’s lives. The chrysanthemum was first used as an emblem of the Imperial Family during the Kamakura period (1192-1333). The current emblem of a 16 petal chrysanthemum was adopted in 1869. The Supreme Order of the Chrysanthemum is also the highest honor the Emperor can award. So as you can see, the choice of flower was no coincidence.
As we continue our way through the Japanese Imperial Family’s jewels you may notice the distinct lack of color. Just as purple represented rank in Ancient Rome, white is reserved for the highest ranked members of the Japanese Imperial family. As a result, the Emperor’s immediate family wears all white to official functions and all jewels are made of diamonds or pearls,