OK... Time to write a guide to answer questions I keep being asked about tiara components!
Handmade tiaras can be made from all sorts of materials from crystal and pearl to feather and ribbon or fresh flowers - the choice is only limited by imagination. But in this guide I will only deal with the most common components.
Most Bridal Tiaras are made with crystals (usually Swarovski - considered the best ones) and often pearls.
Crystals - your choice - AB or not?
Crystal AB have had a coating applied to them which makes them pick up and reflect surrounding colours. They can be quite colourful at times and are very sparkly.
Plain Crystal can be best described as being like cut glass or lead crystal wine glasses.
NEW Crystal Moonlight is a new Swarovski crystal which is perfect for brides who want a bit more sparkle than plain crystal but don't want the colour the AB crystal brings
Some brides love the AB crystals and other want to keep all colour out of their accessories to keep the look totally white.
The photo shows some AB crystals on the left and plain clear on the right.
Crystals - keep them all clear or add a bit of colour?
Luckily Swarovski make crystal beads in over 50 different colours so it is almost always possible to match them up to a wedding colour scheme. So for those who want a splash of colour in their bridesmaids hair accessories - no problem
Pearls - glass pearls or real fresh water pearls?
Glass pearls come in lots of different colours from white to black, lots of sizes and are round. Generally brides choose the off white/ ivory glass pearl - which is nearest to a natural pearl (and usually nearest to the bridal gown colour)
Freshwater pearls, because they are a natural product are more variable in shape and size within a batch. The surface is not uniform like the glass beads giving a character which some prefer. These too can be found in different colours - pearls which have been dyed. Fresh water pearls will generally mean a higher priced tiara.
The pearls on the left are glass pearls the ones on the right are fresh water pearls
Silver or gold, real or not?
Bands and wires used in tiaras are usually silver or gold in colour. But bands can be wrapped in ribbon to make them any colour, and other wires such as copper or brass, or wires coated in many different colours can be used to good effect.
Silver and gold wire - these can be coloured wires, or real silver plated and real gold plated. Plated wires will usually mean a slightly higher priced tiara but they are in my opinion a nicer colour.
The wires inside are coloured wires, the outer wires are silver and gold plated wire.
Band, wire, comb pin or grip?Many custom made hair accessories can be made on a tiara band, a wire band, a comb, a pin or a grip. The first thing to think about is how you will have your hair styled and then which of these will fix securely in your hair and complement your style. Then just ask your jewellery maker if it's possible to have the design of your choice made on the base which will suit you best.
Choose what you love!
People ask me what I think, but really it's all a matter of personal taste - and so I'd say to you, choose what you love and then you will feel and look beautiful!
And finally a word about silver plated tiaras
Silver tarnishes with time - quicker if left exposed, so if you do buy a silver plated tiara, store it in acid free tissue paper and in a box to keep it away from air and moisture.
Hope you found this guide useful.