"At Woburn Abbey successive Duchesses wore the Bedford heirlooms with great distinction: a heavy eight-row pearl necklace, pear pearl earrings with diamond cluster tops, pearl stomacher... And a royal gift, a bracelet with Queen Victoria’s miniature."
Two parures were also heirlooms – one in diamonds, the other of amethysts nestling in diamond leaves.
The Bacchante amethyst and diamond tiara and parure, in the form of vine leaves, was made for Queen Caroline of Naples - sister of Emperor Napoleon - of gold, silver and diamonds ca 1830 from Jean-Baptiste Fossin. The tiara, ear pendants, brooch, bracelets and necklace were in the family until recently; the bracelet, earrings and ring have been sold.
In the language of precious stones, the amethyst stands for devotion.
Under Napoleon a version of neo-classical art inspired by imperial Rome was employed to glorify his empire. As in antiquity, the jewels of the empresses and his imperial sisters had been set with large precious stones - such as amethyst and richly framed with diamonds or pearls. Thus the tiara of Queen Caroline of Naples.
The Duke of Bedford bought a part of her exquisite jewels in 1817 through her former lover the Comte de Flahaut. After the fall of Napoleon at Waterloo where her husband was killed, she lost everything and fled to Austria where she lived in retirement, very short of money, when she sold her amazing jewels.
Above is the Queen of Naples, Caroline Bonaparte the youngest sister of Napoleon. In accordance with her brother's desire for a brilliant court, she dressed beautifully and her jewels were magnificent. As Queen of Naples and Sicily she ruled with her husband Joachim Murat from 1808 to 1815 and is pictured with the complete
Empire Parure of Amethyst and Diamonds
A comb with diamonds and amethysts
A tiara/diadem with diamonds and amethysts
A pair of ear-pendants with diamonds and amethysts
A pair of bracelets with diamonds and amethysts
A large necklace court collier with diamonds and amethysts
A girdle with diamonds and amethysts - with a large cluster
A brooch with diamonds and amethysts
Sources: Tiara-Dignity and Beauty ChristophVachaudez; Bedford-Estate,Marquess of Tavistock; Ancestral Jewels Diana Scarisbrick