Antique pendant brooch with old cut diamonds in silver & gold, around 1870
The star was one of the most popular jewelry motifs of the late 19th century. Legend has it that this enthusiasm for stars is owed to Empress Elisabeth of Austria, better known as Sissi, who had herself portrayed by Franz Xaver Winterhalter in 1865 with precious diamond stars in her hair. The stars were a gift from the emperor: after seeing Mozart's Magic Flute together, the empress had been so enthralled by the Queen of the Night's jewelry that the otherwise thrifty Franz Joseph I commissioned an entire suite of diamond stars for his beautiful wife from the court jeweler Köchert. Our star was created not long after the legendary portrait of the empress. A removable brooch and eyelets for a necklace or velvet ribbon give the little jewel a dual function typical of the period, but with the help of hairpins it can also be worn in the hair. The star holds about 1.75 ct of diamonds in settings of silver, which rest on a base of reddish gold. The diamonds are probably older than the jewelry itself, this is suggested by their special cut. It was not uncommon to cut diamonds from old heirlooms in order to re-set them in jewels corresponding to the latest fashion. This probably also happened here, because a star or even several stars required many diamonds, which at that time were much rarer and more precious than only a few decades later, after the market had been enriched by diamond discoveries from South African mines. The precious star is very well preserved and was a wise investment even then, as stars were to remain in fashion for several decades to come. Even today, it is a nostalgic and at the same time timeless accessory that offers many wearing options thanks to its dual function. Enclosed is an illustration of a workshop version of the painting by Winterhalter, created after 1865. On Sisi's diamond stars and diamond jewelry in general, see the beautiful book Diana Scarisbrick: Diamond Jewelry. 700 Years of Glory and Glamour, London 2019, here p. 199.
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We want you to be 100% satisfied! That’s why we examine, describe and photograph all our jewellery with the utmost care.
If for any reason you are still not satisfied, contact us and we will find a mutual solution immediately. Regardless, you can return any item within 30 days and we will refund you the full purchase price.