The thing about definitions is that you can always find someone else out there on the internet to support whatever technical babble you want to throw out, and words mean different things to different people. They're really going to mean different things when you get speakers of different languages to chime in, as we always do here. (By the way, I'm in awe of those of you that tackle this website without English as a native language. I don't even know the English word for the way I write, but "non-translatable" is a good start.) Anyway - my point is, all I can do is tell you how I personally use these terms and what they mean to me. At least you'll sort of know what I'm on about, for a change. Ready? Here we go:
|Queen Elizabeth in her crown; Prince Philip in his coronet|
Coronet: A coronet is like a baby crown, I'd say. It also belongs to the rites of monarchy (coronations, for example). Coronets are also circular like a crown, but usually without arches, and their form often signals a noble rank.
Diadem: Oh, this one is tricky. Diadem often refers to the ancient markers of status that led to today's crowns and tiaras, and you'll also see it referring to a tiara or crown with perhaps a little more gravitas than the average headdress. On this blog, I sometimes use diadem interchangeably with tiara, for really no other reason than it is awfully boring to read the word tiara fifty times in a single entry. Most readers of this blog hail from English-speaking countries, but it's worth noting here that tiara translates to something spelled somewhat like diadem in several other languages, which will affect the overall understanding of this word's definition.
|Oriental Circlet (L) and Turquoise Bandeau (R)|
Circlet: A tiara that goes all the way around (or nearly all the way around) the head. Can also be used in reference to something that might be classified as a crown or a coronet.
Bandeau: Sometimes people ask where the border falls between a tiara and a bejeweled headband; if you're asking that question, you're probably looking at something that falls in the bandeau category. Bandeau refers to a headband style tiara, often rather low in height and without as much height variation along its top profile.
Aigrette: Originally an ornament which can either hold a spray of feathers in the hair or on a hat, or just depicts a feather motif, the word is derived from the egret bird whose feathers were often used with these pieces. This sort of ornamentation was popular up until the early part of the 20th century; nowadays, remaining aigrettes are used without their feathers, and the term can sometimes be used to refer to other sorts of flexible ornaments for the hair (Queen Margrethe has a Floral Aigrette Tiara, for example). Aigrettes are usually too small to fall under the tiara definition for me.
|Máxima wearing Queen Emma's diamond aigrette (L); Princess Astrid with her feather tiara (C) which is actually an aigrette which could have feathers as shown last (R)|
|Danish ruby parure|
Do you have any other words to add to our glittering glossary, or any alternate definitions to share?