Sunday, May 19, 2013

Object of the Day, Museum Edition: A Diamond and Emerald Parure, 1806

Diamond and Emerald Suite
Necklace and Earrings
From a Parure by Nitot & Fils, 1806-1820
The Victoria & Albert Museum

Just part of a larger parure, this suite of emeralds and diamonds is thought to have been a gift from French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte and his consort Joséphine to their adopted daughter, Stéphanie de Beauharnais, on the occasion of her arranged marriage to the heir of the Grand Duke of Baden in 1806. Created by Nitot & Fils, the principal jewelers to Napoleon and Joséphine, the necklace and earrings feature dozens of diamonds and especially clear emeralds.

This was the height of fashion in 1806 with its large stones and the simplicity of design that were favored at the court of Napoleon. To give the wearer more options, the emerald drops at the back of the necklace can be detached and worn as earrings. These drops cam later, having been added to the necklace in 1820.

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