Tuesday, 9 February 2016

The French Crown Jewels


Statuette of Charlemagne on the sceptre of Charles V. Louvre.
The French Crown Jewels comprise the crowns, orb, sceptres, diadems and jewels that symbolized royalty within French aristocracy between 752 and 1825.

The set was broken up and most of it sold in 1885 by the Third French Republic. The surviving French Crown Jewels are mainly on display in the Galerie d'Apollon of the Louvre.



Crown of Louis XV, 1722, Louvre.

The Crown of Empress Eugénie

The Crown of Napoleon created in 1804. Louvre.
Among the most famous diamonds preserved in the collection are the Sancy Diamond, the Hortensia pink diamond cut in 1678 for Louis XIV, and the Regent Diamond. The Royal French Blue was transformed into the Hope Diamond which now resides in the Smithsonian.
One of the mysteries of the French Revolution was the fate of Dauphin, the son of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette and heir to the crown.

In 2004 it was confirmed through DNA evidence that the young prince had died of tuberculosis in prison. The heart of the young man claimed by the royalists to be the young Louis XVII had been secretly removed by a doctor just after his death. By comparing the DNA from the heart with DNA taken from strands of hair of Marie Antoinette that had been kept as a memento by royalists, it was possible to establish that the boy who died in prison was indeed the last heir to the French Crown Jewels.

Napoleon's crown for Empress Josephine, now in the Smithsonian. It was originally set with emeralds but was later reset with turquoises in their place.

Empress Marie Louise Ruby and Diamond Coronation Crown, Nitot 1810

Princess Eugenie Brooch