Imperiale Juwelen | Imperial Jewels - Les joyaux de la couronne
FRENCH CROWN JEWELS
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
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
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
“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.
DIAMOND PENDANT HAIR ORNAMENT, BAPST,
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 1900s.
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 Bapsts 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
LITERATURE AND REFERENCES
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:
Josephines Sapphire Parure
Parure der Kaiserin Josephine von Frankreich
of Empress Eugenie | Rubin-Diamant-Perlen Collier der Kaiserin Eugenie
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
de Sapphires - Joyaux de Coronne | Saphir Parure der
More of the Diamants De La Couronne | Imperatrice France
Empress Eugenie's Personal Jewels
von Prinzessin Mathilde Bonaparte | Princess Mathilde