Tiara refers to a jeweled headpiece that a woman wears for important formal occasions. A tiara usually looks like a small crown and is often worn by royalty or nobility. The largest collection of tiaras in the world is said to belong to Queen Elizabeth II.
Today, the word “tiara” is often used interchangeably with the word “diadem”, and tiara is often translated to a word similar to diadem in other languages. Both words come from head ornaments worn by ancient men and women to denote high status. As Geoffrey Munn notes, “The word ‘tiara’ is actually Persian in origin—the name first denoted the high-peaked head-dresses of Persian kings, which were encircled by ‘diadems’ (bands of purple and white decoration). Now, it is used to describe almost every form of decorative head ornament.” Ancient Greeks and Romans used gold to make wreath-shaped head ornaments, while the Scythians’ resembled a stiff halo that would serve as the inspiration for later Russian kokoshniks. The use of tiaras and diadems declined along with the decline of the Roman Empire and the rise of Christianity.