Historical Hats, Costumes & Accessories

Made by Nobility, for Nobility

The Crown BC - Present Day

Medieval Crown worn with a wimple and veil Originally Crowns were not known as headwear, but as jewellery, and started to be worn during the Roman Empire. Four Roman Emperors wore the Imperial Crown, which was very simple-a leaf of Laurel or Bay leaves made in Gold. Empress Valeria Messalina favoured a wreath of gold laurel. This type of crown was used by Nero (A.D.54-68) but from then onwards, the Laurel leaf crown would only be seen on the head of the Emperor on coins.

The Empress Sabina, wife of Hadrian (A.D.117) had a Crown (or Diadem) of beautiful workmanship. Heliogabalus was the first to wear a crown with pearls and one priceless gem. A Crown worn by Diocletian, was a broad band of gold set with pearls, and is thought to be the foundation on which all Royal and Imperial Crowns are now based upon.

The crowns worn by men and women during Byzantium times followed Diocletian´s style, but Emperor Justinian brought out his new line. It consisted of band of gold 3 or 4 inches deep, sloping outward towards the top and was decorated with jewels and rows of pearls on the top and bottom edge.

Only Anglo-Saxons of the C.11th re-modified it to have tall leaf-like motifs or points standing straight up from the band of gold. These styles of crowns were still used by William I, Harold, Edward the Confessor and Henry I.

By C.12th crowns were plain gold and still very simple, for example Henry II´s crown. Eleanor of Aquitaine´s crown is the first to have eight points, four of which had jewels. At this time French Crowns were much more ornate in design, for example The Crown of Clovis at St. Denis, but the jewellery of Limoges was sought by the wealthy men and women of Europe.

Crowns in use during the C.13th continued to be simple and set with few jewels. Queens and noble ladies wore these crowns as well as "chaplets" and "guirlands"(metallic floral wreaths) brought into fashion by Queen Eleanor of Provence who was noted for her jewellery. These guirlands became popular among ladies of rank and wealth.

By C.14th and C.15th crowns were becoming what we know them as today and were much more ornate. Gold, silver and enamel were used and set with all manner of precious and semi precious stones with points, quatre foils, cinq foils and arches. They were not only worn by royalty and nobility but by middle classes as well in forms of crowns such as "coronets" and "circlets." A beautiful example of coronet can be seen on the effigy of the Countess of Clarence in Canterbury Cathedral.

Goldsmiths in France, Northern Italy and Northern Spain were the best craftsmen and jewellers during this period, though Limoges still retained its reputation as the best.

Medieval Crown worn with a veil Medieval Crown worn with a wimple and veil Medieval Crown worn with a wimple and veil Metallic Gold Diadem with Red Jewels and Synthetic Pearls


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