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JUWELEN und SCHMUCK der Könige und Kaiser Frankreichs

F R A N K R E I C H - F R E N C H  |  S C H M U C K S A M M L U N G E N

Imperiale Juwelen | Imperial Jewels - Les joyaux de la couronne de France


A small part of the crown jewels are on display in the Louvre, Paris in the Galerie d’Apollon of the Louvre museum.

These pieces include Louis XV’s and Napoleon’s coronation crowns,
Eugenie’s 1853 tiara and 1855 crown and a diamond and sapphire parure worn by Marie-Amelie (1782-1866), wife of Louis-Philippe.

Also on display are the Regent, Sancy and Hortensia diamonds.
In 2002, the Louvre purchased a diamond and emerald tiara (made in 1819-20 by Christophe-Frederic Bapst) for Marie-Therese-Charlotte, duchesse d’Angouleme (1778-1851), the only child of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette to survive the Revolution; two years later, the museum paid 3.7-million € to acquire the necklace and two earrings of Marie-Louise’s 1811 emerald parure.

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History also has several examples from the French crown jewels:
the tiara of Marie-Louise’s emerald parure (the original 79 emeralds were replaced by turquoise after the 1887 auction),
the Hope diamond (the re-cut French Blue), another Marie-Louise diamond necklace and a pair of Marie-Antoinette diamond earrings.
The Ruspoli Sapphire – which probably survived the previous 200 years intact due to its plain, cubic shape – is located in the Paris Museum of Natural History.

The jewels of the late Countess of Paris often wore, belonged to the late Count of Paris and a few years before his dead he sold some to the Louve. (The so called "Saphire parure of Marie Antoinette").
The other saphire parure was auctioned by him after a hard dispute with his children. He left literally nothing from the enormous wealth he inherited from his ancestors!

The vast bulk of them (rest) was auctioned by the French government (Third Republic) in 1887.


“Un superbe diamant brilliant blanc, forme carree, les coins arrondis, ayant une petite glace dans le filetis, et une autre a un coin dans le dessous: pesant 136 14/16 karats, estime douze millions livres."

The Regent Diamond’s description in a 1791 inventory of the Crown Jewels

Each one of Europe’s Crown Jewels has a fascinating history. The creation of – and sometimes the dispersal of – these regal gemstone collections make for compelling reading: the travels of gem merchant Jean-Baptiste Tavernier (who, legend says, plucked Louis XIV’s French Blue diamond from an idol’s eye in India); the attempted theft of the British Crown Jewels on 9 May 1671 by Colonel Thomas Blood; the disappearance of the Hapsburg-owned 137-carat Florentine diamond after the First World War.


Designed as a brooch composed of a cluster of three leaves pavé-set with diamonds, framed by larger stones representing berries, supporting three cascading strands of articulated links of similar foliate design, terminating in graduated fringes, mounted in silver and gold, length approximately 7 ¾ inches, indistinct maker's mark, assay marks, fringes detachable. With tooled red leather fitted box .

The present hair ornament was formerly one of the French Crown Jewels, designed by the Parisian firm of Bapst for the Empress Eugenie, wife of Napoleon III, during the Second Empire. In May of 1887, after the Fall of the Second Empire, the French Ministry of Finance ordered the Crown Jewels to be sold at auction. The elegant jewel was described as a “Pendant Hair Ornament” set with 477 brilliant diamonds weighing 66.85 metric carats. It is illustrated in the engravings of the catalogue of the Crown Jewels sale in 1887, as no. 8. According to the present owner, this jewel has been in his family collection since the early 1900’s.

The style of the brooch reflects the popular taste for jewels in the naturalistic style, which lasted throughout the nineteenth century. Artists and jewelers inspired by the Romantic movement spoke in a “language of flowers” through the use of plant and floral motifs which often times conveyed a secret message of love or affection. We might assume that the leaves in the Pendant Hair Ornament were intended by Maison Bapst to be currant leaves with surrounding clusters of currant berries; the currants relaying the message: “you please all”. The Pendant Hair Ornament is displayed adjacent to Bapst’s Currant Leaf Parure” in both the 1884 exhibition of the French Crown Jewel images, as well as the engravings in the 1887 sale catalogue

The Empress Eugenie, for whom the jewel was designed, was the epitome of style and elegance. An avid lover of jewelry and fashion, she was able to wear haute joaillerie to its greatest advantage by reviving the style for huge dresses which certainly acted as backdrops for certain pieces. The Diamond Hair Comb should be of great interest to both jewelry historians and collectors throughout the world. Jewels of Royal Provenance, and particularly those from the Sale of the French Crown Jewels in 1887 seldom appear on the market.
Sold.21 Apr 04 Hammer Price with Buyer's Premium: 260,000 USD
Bernard Morel, The French Crown Jewels, Antwerp: Fonds Mercator, 1988, p. 367 and p. 371, no. 8. See also p. 377, no 8 for the description.

Lord Twining, A History of the Crown Jewels of Europe, London: B.T. Batsford Ltd., 1960, p. 282, no. 8.



The french jewel-collection:

Empress Josephine’s Sapphire Parure

Saphire Parure der Kaiserin Josephine von Frankreich

THe Hair Jewel - Diamant Haar-Schmuck der Kaiserin Eugenie

Ruby-Necklace of Empress Eugenie | Rubin-Diamant-Perlen Collier der Kaiserin Eugenie

Margeriten aus Diamanten für die Blumenliebhaberin Kaiserin Eugenie von Frankreich |
Imperial Marguerites of Diamond for the Empress of France

Die Empire Parure mit Mikro-Mosaiken der Kaiserin Marie-Louise The Micro-Mosaic-Parure of Empress Marie-Louise

Parure de Sapphires - Joyaux de Coronne | Saphir Parure der französischen Krone

JOUAUX JUWELEN und SCHMUCK der Könige und Kaiser Frankreichs



Mellerio Flieder Brosche | Empress Eugenies Lilac Spray Brooches

Schmuck von Prinzessin Mathilde Bonaparte | Princess Mathilde Bonaparte's Jewels

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