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Though of similar overall shape to the usual tiara, the Spanish tiara was different in that its decoration consisted primarily of jewels, rather than of gold inset with jewels. Its three crowns bore striking similarities in terms of design to standard tiaras worn by women, giving the tiara a distinctly feminine look. It contained 18,000 diamonds, pearls, rubies, emeralds, and sapphires.
Isabella's motive for giving the tiara is not publicly recorded, but it may have been an attempt at a rapprochement between the Roman Catholic Church and Spain, since during Isabella's reign the Spanish government had dissolved Catholic religious orders, including the Jesuits, and seized their property. It may also have been an attempt by Isabella to win conservative Catholic support away from the rival Carlist cause and boost support for her own reign.
If her intent was a rapprochement with the papacy, then it failed. It is not known if the tiara was ever worn, but it was later recorded that the tiara was sold by the Vatican and the money received given to the poor. Isabella herself was later forced to abdicate the Spanish throne.
At its creation, the Spanish tiara was valued at 500,000 francs.
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