Formerly in the collection of the Empress Josephine, the carved gems are probably a gift from Napoleon's sister Caroline Murat, the Queen Consort of Naples.
The Napoleonic Gold diadem mounted with cameos, from Jacques-Ambroise Oliveras, in France ca. 1808, are still in a old red leather case of tongue shape, curving at the front. Fitted for diadem, belt clasp and slide, further items no longer in parure.
The tiara is made of gold with enamel and five oval hardstone cameos depicting Zeus, Dionysus (probably 18th century), Medusa, Pan and Gaia of layered agate, jasper and jasper agate.
This set of rare early 19th-century tiaras which are thought to have once belonged to Napoleon’s wife Joséphine de Beauharnais, Empress of France, are set to go on sale at Sotheby’s in Geneva.
The two tiaras – each part of a parure – are set with gemstones engraved with classical heads, several of which are possibly ancient, and were believed to endow the wearer with their various depicted qualities such as heroism, faithfulness and love.
Sotheby’s describe them as ’embodying the fascination for neo-classical design that reached its zenith under Bonaparte’s regime’.
The set are said to come from a ‘UK private collection’ where they have remained for ‘at least 150 years’ and are on display at the Victoria and Albert Museum, for a long time, expected to fetch £200,000- 300,000 and £100,000-200,000 respectively in Sotheby’s London Treasures sale in December.
A gold, cameo and enamel diadem by Jacques-Amboise Oliveras from circa 1808 with five oval hardstone cameos depicting Zeus, Dionysus (probably 18th century), Medusa, Pan and Gaia (probably late 16th century) estimated to sell for £100,000-£200,000.
Renowned for their lavish entertainment and appetite for gems, cameos and luxury, Napoléon and Joséphine’s patronage of the arts was intrinsic to the establishment of design during the regime and provided a much needed impetus to the luxury industries and jewellery workshops following the French Revolution and its aftermath.
Height: 47mm (Note: of central roundel) Diadem width: 203mm Diadem depth: 155mm
roche de laurier
en rubis et diamonts de L`imperatrice Josephine "spray Beauharnais
und Kaiserliche Juwelen | Royal and Imperial Jewels of France