Many Crowns

In my experience, there are three things that scream “fantasy” like nothing else: Swords, dragons, and crowns.

Between me and my husband, we already had quite a few swords in the house. I also had a shelf full of dragons. Figurines, statues, little stone carvings. But what I didn’t have was crowns.

Not long ago, I noticed a big uptick in ads on social media sites promoting jewelry companies that “made” crowns. Yet all of them had the same photos of these supposed artisan crafts. Sure, they were stunning, but it also wasn’t hard to determine they were mass-produced. A lot of them were “marked down” to prices that seemed reasonable at first; somewhere between $25 and $40 for most pieces. But I couldn’t help wondering if I’d be able to find the same thing elsewhere, without the retailer markup.

I began my exploration on sites like eBay, where I find a lot of wholesale lace and other things for my crafts. It seemed reasonable to think I might be able to find some crowns there, too. I did, but not as many as I hoped, and the prices were better, but not great. Yet again, all the sellers used the same photos for identical products.

Ultimately, I ended up browsing places like AliExpress. Ali is hit-and-miss for quality, legitimacy, and, well, whether or not you get what you ordered at all. But I finally hit some luck there, finding a lot of the same crowns for prices between $6 and $10, with shipping included. A few incredible choices were $5 or less, but I decided to be reasonable. I had seen and liked one crown early on, when browsing the boutique sites rather fraudulently passing off the crowns as their own work. I’d thought $30 was reasonable for a pretty crown, so I told myself I’d spend that much. For that amount, shipping included, I ended up getting a crown, a circlet, and two tiaras.

Of the group, the green one is my favorite. It’s also the one that was the cheapest, costing me a whole three dollars. It’s the prettiest, in my opinion, and is also the easiest to wear. It has loops for pins, but they aren’t necessary to hold it in place. Coincidentally, this one also seems to be my daughter’s favorite, and she has asked me to get one for her, too.

The most “okay” was the circlet, which unfortunately proved harder to wear than I expected. While it’s easy to bend to fit any head size or shape, I’ve found it’s hard to keep it from sliding, and it doesn’t present a lot of functionality for using pins, either.

Below the green tiara in the list of favorites is the fleur-de-lis crown, which also has loops for pins, but is perfectly wearable without them. In fact, if you’ve got a small head like mine, it might be better to bend the loops out of the way or else cut them off and file the stumps left behind, because they prevent the crown from sitting lower on your head—which would keep the crown in place just fine.

Most disappointing was the blue and crystal tiara, which wasn’t at all the shape I anticipated. I thought it would have arms like the green tiara, but it’s more of a false front. It’s too wide to wear against an updo, and it looks too big and out of place high up on the head. It won’t stay on without hair pins, but there’s no way to pin it to anything that would cause it to stand upright. As a result, this one has yet to be worn, and it’s also hard to use in photo layouts for social media. I think it would be nice with some modification. Maybe give it a band so it could be worn more normally. But I haven’t had time to fiddle with it, and I might try to find something that works a little better on its own. I’m not heartbroken, since this one was maybe $6, so it’s not a huge loss if I can’t figure it out.

After I had the crowns all together, though, I noticed I’d two major mistakes.

I need something that’s plain silver, and I didn’t get anything red.

Which one do you like best?

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