Befitting of any queen — especially the Queen of the Tournament of Roses — is a crown that is as steeped in tradition as the Rose Parade festivities that take over Pasadena on New Year’s Day.
It’s a crown now donned by newly announced Rose Queen, Louise Deser Siskel, and — in all its dazzling glory — a magnificent centerpiece of the Tournament of the Roses. And, oh, how magnificent it is.
The crown, provided and exclusively created by Mikimoto, a worldwide luxury jewelry retailer based in Japan, is adorned with hundreds of Akoya cultured pearls, ten white south sea pearls from Australia, six carats of diamonds and it weighs more than 3 pounds, according to John Cotter, spokesperson for Mikimoto America who is also in charge of VIP services
The crown is a valued at a jaw-dropping $400,000, Cotter said.
The Royal Court Princesses each wear tiaras valued at $90,000 during the Rose Parade and take home a keepsake pearl necklace valued at $5,000 after Tuesday’s coronation.
He said Mikimoto is thrilled to be part of the Tournament of the Roses’ legacy.
“It’s a very prestigious event….and the young women are very inspiring. There’s no other event like it in the world,” Cotter said. “It’s truly special.”
Each crown and tiara take about a year to make, Cotter said.
That’s a stark contrast from the crowns put atop the heads of Tournament of Roses’ Queens from many years ago. In fact, some of the early Rose Queens in the early 1900s didn’t have crowns at all and wore hats or garland instead.
In 1939, a special crown, made of crystal rhinestones, was created exclusively Rose Queen, Barbara Dougall, to mark the Tournament of Roses’ 50th anniversary. An earlier design for the crown featured the parade’s trademark rose logo, but Tournament officials decided against it in favor of a more classic design, according to the Associated Press.
While the silver and rhinestones crown certainly glittered and wowed, it wasn’t known for being a comfortable accessory. Beauty comes with its own price — the crown reportedly weighed five pounds and was cumbersome for Queens to wear, according to media outlets.
Once the Tournament of the Roses celebration is over, crowns and tiaras are returned to Japan for refurbishing until the following year’s announcement of the Rose Queen.
Mikimoto’s founder Kokichi Mikimoto, was the first person to successfully culture a semi-spherical pearl in 1893. During his lifetime, he attempted to culture many different types of pearls, including black and white South Sea cultured pearls in addition to perfectly round pearls.
The first queen to wear the Mikimoto crown was Ashley Moreno in 2005, followed by Victoria Castellanos in 2017.
Several Tournament of Roses’ crowns were on display at the Pasadena Museum of History’s Pasadena Royals: Rose Queen and Royal Court exhibit in February.