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

Empress Eugenie’s Diadem

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


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.


  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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