Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Mastery of Design: The Castellani Diadem, 1860

Castellani, c. 1860
The Victoria & Albert Museum

The Italian jewelry firm of Castellani made this diadem around 1860 based on an Etruscan original which dated to about 300 B.C. The original is the Campana Collection in the Louvre.

This tiara was copied four more times with each of the copies remaining in private collections. This one was shown at the International Exhibition in London in 1862. There, the works of Castellani garnered much attention and acclaim. So many flocked to the Castellani exhibit, in fact, that a policeman was stationed outside of the display to control the crowds. Certainly, the diadem was the centerpiece of the group.

The piece is made of gold with open floral-work. It is set with pearls, and beads and features enameled, serrated leaves and beaded blue berries. 

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