This tiara, created by Meller or Mellerio in 1867, is known as the Shell tiara for its shape and pearls. Made with dangling pear-shaped pearls and diamonds that tilt with the movement of the wearer, an extra diamond drop can be added in the middle. However, Queen Sofía has not worn the diamond drop in years.
Queen Isabel II bought it in 1868 for her daughter, the Infanta Isabel, Princess of Asturias, on the occasion of her wedding. Infanta Paz, one of the Princess’s younger sisters, was also pictured wearing the tiara in a wedding. The Infanta died childless, and left the diadem to her nephew Alfonso XIII.
His wife Queen Victoria Eugenia used the Mellerio Shell tiara in one public occasion, as only once did her daughter in law, the Countess of Barcelona, wear it.
The tiara was a wedding present from Queen Ena and the Count and Countess of Barcelona to Princess Sophia of Greece and Denmark, who was seen with the Shell tiara for the first time in her pre-wedding ball.
Since then, this tiara has become a favorite of Queen Sofía. The Mellerio is now the personal property of Her Majesty, who has lent it to her daughters, the Princess of Asturias and the Infanta Margarita. The Mellerio Shell tiara is also called La Chata, as its first owner, the Infanta Isabel, was known by that nickname.
The Infanta Margarita wore this tiara during a state visit from the President of Portugal to Spain:
She is not the only infanta who was worn the Mellerio in the last century:
The Infanta Elena has never worn the tiara in public, but she wears it in this portrait:
The Princess of Asturias used the tiara during a state visit to Spain: