Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Gifts of Grandeur: The Caroline of Naples Tiara, 1808

The Caroline of Naples Tiara
Italy, 1808
The Victoria & Albert Museum
This gold tiara set with four lapis lazuli plaques inset with shells and pearls in pietre dure mosaic is believed to have belonged to Caroline Murat (1782-1839), Queen of Naples. Part of an impressive parure, the tiara shows the fine workmanship of its maker, Real Laboratorio of Naples, known for impressive suites of jewelry such as this. The parure is still kept in its original leather box which is stamped with a crowned “C” in gold. 

Some historians contend that the pietre dire panels were produced by the Opificio delle Pietre Dure in Florence while the gold work was finished in Naples. The Grand Ducal Workshop, Opificio delle Pietre Dure, was founded in 1588 and still operates today under the Italian Ministry for Cultural Heritage.

The suite consists of a matching necklace, earrings and comb in addition to the magnificent tiara.

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