The Rising Star tiara crowns the 2016 Vienna Opera Ball

Debutantes at Opernball 2016

Debutantes at Opernball 2016, © Jürgen Hammerschmid / Swarovski

After weeks of preparation, February 4 saw 180 sparkling young debutantes and their partners light up the specially built dance floor of the magnificent 19th-century Vienna State Opera with a perfectly executed waltz. It was the opening dance of the 60th Vienna Opera Ball—the highlight of Vienna’s ball season—watched by international celebrities, VIPs, local dignitaries and guests. Attired traditionally in white gowns and long white gloves, and crowned with specially designed tiaras, it was a sight that has changed little since the early 20th century, when this rite of passage was first introduced.

Since the 1950s, Swarovski has been a partner of the Vienna Opera Ball. Each year, the crystal maison invites one master designer to craft a one-of-a-kind crystal tiara to accessorize the debutantes’ ball gowns. This year, the commission went to designer and architect Marie Boltenstern, granddaughter of renowned Viennese architect Erich Boltenstern, who recently took over Sven Boltenstern, the luxury jewelry label founded by her father.

Rising Star crystal tiaras

© Thomas Schrott

Marie Boltenstern called her tiara design ‘Rising Star’: she drew her inspiration from the perfect harmony of the stamens of a flower, created using three Navette-cut crystals with a cluster of round crystals arranged in order of size. The result was a soft, organic look resembling a blossoming flower, which reflects her vision of the debutantes, themselves, as rising stars—or, indeed, flowers that are just about to bloom.
Designed to mark the moment in the young women’s lives when they were the belles of a centuries-old ball, the Rising Star crystal tiaras will be lifelong mementos of their official entry into society.