The wedding between the then Kate Middleton and Prince William at Westminster Abbey on 29 April 2011 drew over a billion viewers. If you weren’t able to make the trip to London, thanks to the internet and television, you could watch the ceremony anywhere in the world.
One of the most eye-catching moments of the day was the arrival of the bride. Kate’s iconic Alexander McQueen lace gown and train were exquisite, but, it was the halo tiara that captured the attention of many. The tiara is set to go on exhibition at the National Gallery of Australia next year.
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Commissioned by Her Majesty’s father, King George VI, before he succeeded the throne, the halo tiara was gifted to The Queen Mother in 1936. Cartier, the iconic jeweller, was responsible for crafting the dazzling headpiece.
Shaped like its namesake, the halo tiara is composed of stylized petals and paved with 739 brilliant-cut diamonds and 149 baguette-cut diamonds.
The Queen lent it to her sister, Princess Margaret and her daughter, Princess Anne before letting Kate borrow it for her wedding day.
Cartier – The Exhibition opens at the gallery in Canberra in March of 2018 and will run until July. This will be the largest display of the French jeweller’s work in Australia to date. The exhibit will feature more than 300 pieces.
Pierre Rainero, Cartier’s director of image, style and heritage, ventured to Canberra for a preview of the exhibition. He discussed the scale of the exhibition: “It’s probably, in terms of the number of pieces and in-depth study of the evolution of Cartier style, it’s really one of the most important exhibitions ever.
“Cartier represents the poetic amalgamation of art, passion and style.”
The exhibition will catalogue Cartier’s history beginning in the 20th century. It will also provide insight into some of its famous international clientele.
“Really interesting and glamorous people owned them. Great celebrities, royalty, aristocracy and film stars” NGA director Gerard Vaughan said.
‘One of the most valuable’ exhibitions ever displayed.’
Some of the pieces include Elizabeth Taylor’s matching ruby necklace and earrings and some of The Queen’s favourite pieces.
Opera star, Dame Nellie Melba will have an entire section of the exhibition dedicated to the jewels she purchased: “We didn’t realise just how many pieces she purchased. She was a major client,” Mr Vaughan said.
Putting the exhibition together is no easy feat. Each piece must be delivered in individual shipments: “We are not able to talk about the value of this collection, but I think you can work out that this is going to be one of the most valuable assemblages ever displayed in the history of Australia,” Mr Vaughan said.