UP-CYCLING: How to 'Out-Sparkle' the Competition

We may think ‘up-cycling’ is a modern-day phenomenon, but reading about the making of the Lotus and Palmette Diamond Tiara, that’s clearly not the case.

In 1893 in order to create the high all-round crown she so desired, Duchess Louise, married to the 8th Duke of Devonshire, reaped the diamonds from the Chatsworth Parure and raided other historical Devonshire jewels, including the Garter Star to obtain the 1,041 diamonds required. Her intention was clear, she wanted to out-sparkle all other crowns - an ambition which this impressive showstopper successfully achieved.


The Lotus and Palmette Diamond Tiara


C W Sellors was asked to recreate this tiara for the House Style exhibition.  Our master jewellers were given access to the original, which had been safely locked away in the family vaults. They spent time measuring and studying the detail of the designs and workmanship. For Paul Barker, C W Sellor’s Workshop Manager, this was one of the highlights of working on the Chatsworth project: "As a practical jeweller I was excited by the wonderful quality and intricacy of the pieces we were asked to recreate. Seeing the skill of the original artisans was truly humbling."

Over 200 design hours alone were spent recreating the Palmette and Lotus tiara, with Paul individually crafting the 39 separate sections of the design. The next stage was done by Marcin Tomaszewski setting the Cubic Zircons (simulated diamonds) into silver castings, polishing and assembling the pieces to make the finished tiaras.


Making of: The intricate settings used to hold the gemstones of the tiara 


The tiara was last worn by Duchess Mary to the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II which is the scene re-enacted in the Painted Gallery at the start of the House Style exhibition, where the reproduction of it, made by C W Sellors, is proudly displayed. 


Coronation robe in the Painted Hall at Chatsworth.


Ultimately, the essential components for recreating the tiara were the same as they have always been for jewelers for the past 4,000 years – namely time, patience and great technical competence and skill. 

While not many people will require something so elaborate as this crowning glory, our design and workshop team are available for any customer to come and talk to about their own unique designs or renovating old and much-loved pieces of jewellery.