Home > B. The Living Artifact > Empress Eugenie’s Diadem

Empress Eugenie’s Diadem

File:Diadème de limpératrice Eugénie (musée du Louvre) (7166066743).jpg

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Jewelry is an art–and something more.  We admire beautifully designed and executed costume jewelry (which can be nearly indistinguishable from the real thing) as well as jewelry made from semi-precious stones. Even royal jewels are sometimes admired for their antiquity and the renown of those who wore them. But occasionally we come across something more–jewelry that is a reflection of the aspirations of those who commissioned them–and of the ideals of people more generally. This diadem, created for the Empress Eugenie, consort of Napoleon III (r. 1851-1870), combines the most beautiful pearls and diamonds in a design that transcends its materials. The diadem is both feminine and regal, gorgeous and circumspect. Its elegance speaks for the aspirations of mid-19th-century Europe. And yet its simplicity in color and form speaks to emerging democratic sensibilities: this is a sign of royal office, not of divine right.    RT

Photograph: Diadem of the Empress Eugenie (Louvre Museum); (212 pearls, 1998 old-cut diamonds, mounted on gilded silver). Author: dalbera. WikiCmns; CC 2.0 Generic.

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  1. August 21, 2013 at 4:19 pm

    RT – I want it to be said that I greatly value your work.

    • August 21, 2013 at 6:23 pm

      NF–thanks so much; your compliment encourages me!! RT

  1. August 26, 2013 at 7:10 pm

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