The Napoleon diamond necklace
The historic Napoleon diamond necklace was gifted in 1811 by the French emperor to his second spouse, Marie-Louise, upon the start of their son, Napoleon II, the Emperor of Rome. The beautiful silver and gold design was conceived by Etienne Nitôt and Sons of Paris and, based on the Smithsonian, initially featured 234 diamonds: 28 outdated mine-cut diamonds, 9 pendeloques and 10 briolettes, enhanced by a number of smaller gems. “All the stones have been mined in India or Brazil, the place the perfect diamonds got here from at this level,” says Hiscox of the necklace’s mesmeric attraction. “They’ve this extraordinary limpid, water-like high quality.”
Upon Napoleon’s downfall, his Hapsburg spouse and her many jewels returned to her native Vienna, and following her demise, the necklace handed to her sister-in-law Sophie of Austria. The archduchess resolved to shorten it by eradicating two stones and turning them into earrings, the whereabouts of that are at present unknown. The necklace, in the meantime, remained within the household till 1948, when it was offered first to a French collector, and finally to the US businesswoman Marjorie Merriweather Publish, who gave it to the Smithsonian in 1962. There, it continues to be revered, says Hiscox, as “one of the vital spectacular items of [its] interval”.
If you need to touch upon this story or the rest you may have seen on BBC Tradition, head over to our Facebook web page or message us on Twitter.
And in case you favored this story, sign up for the weekly bbc.com features newsletter, known as The Important Record. A handpicked choice of tales from BBC Future, Tradition, Worklife and Journey, delivered to your inbox each Friday.
Leave a Reply