Auguste Viktoria Friederike Luise Feodora Jenny of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg was the wife of Emperor Wilhelm II and as such from 1888 to 1918 German Empress and Queen of Prussia.
The empress often wore this large oval diamond brooch and Devante de Corsage and was shown in different pictures. The large faceted oval sapphire is framed by 20 evenly sized diamonds and two larger diamonds on the short lengths. A large, even pearl hangs movable on the brooch with an eyelet and three diamonds. There are flourishes made of diamonds on both sides.
Marie Louise went to Vienna after the fall of Napoleon I and took with her her personal jewelery, including the emarald parure. The parure stayed in the Habsburg family until 1953. Then a Scandinavian decendant of the Habsburg family sold the diadem and kept the other pieces of the parure. They sold it to the famous Jewelhouse Van Cleef and Arpels.
They replaced the emeralds with turquoises and sold it to Mrs. Merriweather Post. Majorie Merriweather Post, is seen above, wearing the famous jewel. She donated the diadem to the Smithsonian Institution in 1966. See above in the pictures, update about the history
In 1946 the Parure crossed destroyed Europe, hidden in a harness. In fact, Archduke Karl Albrecht left the castle in Zywiec in southern Poland with his wife Archduchess Alice and their daughters on a rickety horse cart. Imprisoned by the Nazis and then persecuted by the Polish Communists, they were forced into exile. Crossing Poland, Germany and parts of Denmark, they finally managed to reach Sweden, the country of birth of Princess Alice. The hurriedly hidden jewels were her only valuables. The diamond and emerald parure – tiara, necklace, earrings and brooch found its way to Van Cleef & Arpels in New York at the beginning of 1953. The emeralds from Columbia, which are of considerable size, also have a well-known origin; Napoleon I gave them to his second wife, Empress Marie Luise, an Austrian Archduchess. The design above of the Napoleonic Tiara shows the original version and the emeralds in detail and their size, from left to right the top large emeralds have a weight of: 8.05ct, 12.15ct, 13.43ct, 12.04ct, 6.31ct, 13.20ct, 12.46ct, 6.82ct, the oval emeralds in the center 6.31ct The middle row and lower emeralds 2.16 ct, 1.34 ct, 2.59 ct, 3.25 ct, 2.77 ct, 5.41 ct, 1.32 ct; 1.39 ct, 5.43 ct; 3.50 ct, 3.31 ct, 2.60 ct, 2.23 ct, 1.34 ct, 2.80 ct. After her death in 1847, Marie-Louise bequeathed the Parure with the diadem, the emerald necklace, the emerald earrings and the emerald brooch to her Habsburg relatives.
Click on the link above, for more about the history – an update of the story….
Frohe Weihnachten 2020 | Merry Christmas – The history of Grand Duchess Xenia Alexandrovna’s Imperial Jewel Collection, learn more about the Lalique Winter Pendant of gold enamel and sapphire, from her own drawing :