Girls of Great Britain and Ireland
| Ruby Oriental |
Kokoshnik | Strathmore Rose
Cambridge Lover’s Knot |
Persian Turquoise |
Grand Duchess Vladimir
Today, when we think of U.S. fads and fashions for India, we tend to focus on the recent mass popularity of yoga and Bollywood films or on narratives of self-discovery in the East such as Elizabeth Gilbert’s best-selling Eat, Pray, Love. The hippie counterculture of the late 1960s, with its obsessions for Indian music, fabrics, and spiritualities, also remains strong in the public memory. It is largely forgotten that at the turn of the twentieth century the United States was in the grips of a craze of India and “the Orient” that was, in some ways, larger and more pervasive than anything that has occurred since. Between the 1880s and 1920s, Americans from all classes and walks of life were drawn to an “India” that was, in essence, a collective fantasy. Elites of cities such as New York, Chicago, Boston, and Philadelphia explored Vedantist philosophy and attempted the contortions of “tantrik" yoga. A young Isadora Duncan performed her interpretations of Eastern dance, in bare feet and flowing robes, on the lawns of Newport, Rhode Island’s finest mansions, while Ruth St. Denise performed in Indian-style on Broadway, bedecked with jewels and wrapped in a colorful silk sari. The New Thought writer and publisher William Walker Atkinson built a national audience for his mail-order books on clairvoyance, mind control, and the “Hindu-yogi science of breath,” published under pseudonyms such as Swami Panchadasi, Yogi Ramacharaka, and Swami Bhakta Vishita.
Meanwhile, the sexualized figure of the Indian “nautch” dancer became a stape of American burlesque theaters. Southern growers marketed tobacco under brand names such as Hindoo, Mecca, Mogul, and Bengal, with labels that depicted Ameers and maharajahs, palaces, hookas, and dancing girls. Tin Pan Alley songwriters churned out show tunes such as “My Hindoo Man” and “Down in Bom-Bombay,” which middle-class Americans sang to amuse themselves in the piano parlors of their homes. Circuses and exhibitions competed to present ever-larger menageries of Indian elephants and camels and ever-more spectacular recreations of Indian, Sinhalese, and other “native” villages. Such exotic public spectacles reached new heights in 1904, when the owners of Coney Island’s Luna Park turned fifteen acres of the Brooklyn amusement park into a replica of the city of Delhi and “imported” three hundred Indian men, women, and children, forty camels and seventy elephants to live there for the summer season. Several times a day the “natives” and their animals marched through Luna Park, performing a re-creation of the Delhi Durbar—the grand procession that had occurred in India the year before to mark the ascendance of King Edward VII of England to the imperial throne. By 1909, even the Wild West showmen Buffalo Bill Cody and Gordon “Pawnee Bill” Lillie joined in the craze, touring a “Far East Show” across the U.S. Midwest and South that featured Arabian horseman, a troupe of Sinhalese dancers, a “Hindu fakir,” and a “nautch dance ballet.”
Vivek Bald in Bengali Harlem and the Lost Histories of South Asian America
While visiting South Africa during the 1901 tour, De Beers presented Mary, then Princess of Wales, with a collection of 675 diamonds. In 1902, she used those diamonds to commission a tiara from Boucheron. The choice of Boucheron was an interesting one (later in her life, she would be far more associated with Garrard, the crown jewelers), and the tiara is an interesting result. It’s a striking piece created from upright diamond loops filled with and separated by additional diamond motifs placed so that they appear to be floating. It’s surprisingly delicate for such a tall tiara.
In true Mary fashion, the tiara didn’t last long in her collection. You don’t have to study the jewels of the British royal family for long to realize just how much tinkering Queen Mary did with her gems, frequently creating new designs by dismantling her old pieces, and this was to be the ultimate fate of the Boucheron Loop Tiara. Needing a new, crown-like diadem to take to India for the Delhi Durbar celebration of her husband’s coronation, the new queen consort gave the Boucheron tiara to Garrard to dismantle. The diamonds were used for the Delhi Durbar Tiara.
If you could raid HM's vault and pick 1 tiara each for Camilla, Kate, Beatrice, Eugenie, Sophie & Anne, what would they be? (Tiara's that are broken or we're not sure if they are there qualify too, no rules on if they are HM's favs or spares)
Well, I wish Camilla wore more the Delhi Durbar tiara, because she looks fab in it:
For Kate, I’d go for the sapphire tiara:
For Beatrice, I’m torn between the Sapphire Bandeau that Margaret used to wear because it would look great on her red hair:
Or the Teck Crescent Tiara:
For Eugenie, Queen Mary’s Fringe Tiara:
For Sophie, I would love to see the Nizam of Hyderabad tiara remade:
And for Anne? I think I’m going to stick with her the Oriental Circlet:
British Royal Jewels - The Delhi Durbar Necklace with Cullinan Diamond Pendant
Created for the Delhi Durbar of 1911 and owned by Queen Mary. The cabochon emeralds are surrounded by diamonds, set in two chains of small diamonds, with a single big diamond between each emerald. Later, Queen Mary added a diamond pendant on a detachable chain. The diamond pendant is the 8.8 carat marquise known as Cullinan VII (one of the nine numbered stones cut from the Cullinan Diamond). The necklace was inherited by Queen Elizabeth II in 1953 who has worn it on numerous occasions, usually with Vladimir Tiara in emerald setting.
Advertised as being “so lifelike as to border on the marvellous,” Kinora picture reels brought exotic and unimaginably extravagant events into the Edwardian home, such as this elephant procession filmed at the 1903 or 1911 Delhi Durbar—a ceremony celebrating the succession of a new Emperor and Empress of India.