Antique tiaras sparkle in the upcoming Downton Abbey film

These glittering Victorian and Edwardian jewels are worn by the Dowager Countess, Lady Edith and Lady Cora

A late Victorian diamond tiara worn by Lady Edith in the Downton Abbey film
Maggie Smith and Michelle Dockery in costume as Mary & Violet for the Downton Abbey film

We’ve been counting down the days until the release of the new Downton Abbey film, which is due to hit cinemas on 19th September. Set in 1927, the story will explore an impending visit from King George V and Queen Mary at the fictional estate of Downton Abbey in Yorkshire. And, alongside the usual drama, romance and sharp remarks from the Dowager Countess, viewers can also expect an array of beautiful costumes and glittering antiques….

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Widely recognised for its unparalleled supply of vintage tiaras in London, antique jewellery specialists Bentley & Skinner  have loaned a selection of treasured pieces to appear on the big screen this September. The Mayfair based jewellers, goldsmiths and silversmiths supplied three antique pieces to crown the heads of leading members of the cherished Crawley clan.

Dowager Countess played by Maggie Smith will wear a Victorian diamond foliate tiara; Lady Edith played by Laura Carmichael will wear a late Victorian diamond tiara while Lady Cora played by Elizabeth McGovern will be seen in an Edwardian diamond tiara.

A late Victorian diamond tiara, worn by Lady Edith, circa 1890
This late Victorian diamond tiara (c1890) will be worn by Lady Edith, played by Laura Carmichael
A Victorian diamond foliate tiara, worn by the Dowager Countess, circa 1880
This Victorian diamond foliate tiara (c1880) will be worn by the Dowager Countess, played by Maggie Smith
An Edwardian diamond tiara, worn by Lady Cora, circa 1900
This Edwardian diamond tiara (c1900) will be worn by Lady Cora, played by Elizabeth McGovern

The film will be set in 1927, a time when tiaras remained popular amongst the aristocracy, a continuing trend from the end of the 19th and early 20th century. Elaborately decorated tiaras provided the opportunity for members of the upper class, like the Crawleys, to display their impressive diamonds, which served as an indicator of their wealth and affluence. Typically, the majestic accessories were thought of as family heirloom pieces and so were purchased to be passed down from generation to generation.

Founded in 1880, Bentley & Skinner is notable for its role as a valued supplier of jewellery to the Royal Family, a role the company has commanded since the latter part of the 19th century.

Downtown Abbey airs in cinemas on 13th September.

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Words: Ella Rhys-Jones