Pink Topaz Grand Parure |Imperial Jewellery of the Empress Marie-Louise
Topazes rose couronne Marie-Louise d'Autriche Impératrice des Français
Archduchess Marie-Louise of Habsburg (12 Dec 1791 - 17 Dec. 1847), was the Emperor Franz I of Austria's daughter. On April 2, 1810, she married the Emperor Napoleon I who had divorced his first wife Josephine because she had borne him no heirs.
Most likely the Empress Marie-Louise received the Topaz Parure for her 20th birthday on December 12, 1811, rather than as a Christmas gift as lavish gifts for Christmas were not yet common. The gift of Napoleon Bonaparte; it was supplied by the jeweller Nitot on November 11, 1811.
The archive records of Nitot state that on that date a tiara, a necklace, earrings, a comb, and a belt were supplied. The image above illustrates the typical style at the time the parure was created. The Empress wears the diadem, the necklace with pendants, the pendant drop earrings and the belt, which in the fashion of the time was worn not at the waist but below the chest.
Two long bandelettes hang from the center of the belt, and the bracelets were also worn on the upper arm.
Probably Nitot had difficulty meeting the Emperor's order which included the bandelettes and bracelets. It is possible that the deadline was Marie-Louise's name day of March 15. The delivery was made on February 25, 1812 completing the parure. The individual pieces of jewellery probably come apart, so that the individual droplets pendant can be unhooked.
The tiara is set with 87 topazes, which is by far the greatest number of colored stones in its diadems. A topaz drop with the bay, then a larger size oval without laurel alternate, the middle tier is set with smaller topazes. Nitot wanted the delicate rose out questions and has put on the effect of "Color", it must have an eerie pink appearance.
The topaz parure of semi-precious stones with diamonds was the most inexpensive of the Empress' parure, probably due to the relatively poorer quality of diamonds. The other gem parures of Empress Marie-Louise had significantly more and larger diamonds, which were more expensive.
Rose Topaz Parure
DIADEM: 87 topazes - FF 46356.99
COLLIER: 31 topazes - FF 14456.25
EARRINGS: 4 topazes - FF 3337.50
COMB: 13 topazes - FF 7,982
BELT: 13 topazes - FF 23709.12
on February 25, 1812 Nitot delivered:
2 long Bandelettes - 14 Topazes
2 Bracelets - 18 Topasze together: FF 21467.62
The exact price and size specifications provide a good comparison--the topazes were with turquoises in about the same price range, more expensive was, surprisingly, the amethysts and by far the most expensive were opals.
This jewellery was not one of the crown jewels of France, but was the personal property of Marie-Louise. The Empress left the diadem with the collar and the topaz earrings to her Habsburg family. It was seen in the 1920s being worn by Princess Rosemarie von Salm-Salm, Archduchess of Austria-Tuscany.
Later, on the occasion of the wedding of her daughter Valerie, with the Margrave of Baden, she wore a smaller version of the Parure with the necklace, earrings and tiara. Rosemary was a granddaughter of Archduke Friedrich, Duke of Teschen and his wife Princess Isabella of Croÿ.
Rosemarie married Hubert Salvator of Austria, the third child of Archduke Franz Salvator of Austria and his wife Archduchess Marie Valerie von Habsburg.
Archduchess Valerie wore the topaz on the occasion of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953. She was just 13 years old, when her sister fell seriously ill, she was also pregnant - I believe it was very urgent to lost the child. So the Archduchess, was the companion of her brother-in-law, the Prince Karl Alfred of Liechtenstein, with Topaz Diadem, at the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.
It is not known whether the comb, the jewelled belt and bracelets still exist, or who may have them.
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