Sisi's favourites

Pretty antique star brooch with bohemian garnets, around 1890

When Empress Elisabeth of Austria (Sisi) visited the crown land of Bohemia on her honeymoon in 1854, she was presented with some of the treasures of the Bohemian mines: dark red, fiery pyrope garnets. From these stones the empress had an entire parure, i.e. an extensive set of jewellery, made and presented herself in the gleam of the garnets to Viennese society at a court ball. The very next day - so the story goes - a veritable run on jewellery with the fire dragons broke out: All the ladies of Vienna wanted to own Bohemian garnet jewellery. The present piece of jewellery is also in the tradition of this garnet fashion. But it also picks up on another fashion, also influenced by the young empress: After attending a performance of Mozart's Magic Flute, she was so impressed by the Queen of the Night's star jewellery that her husband Franz Josef I had the court jeweller A.E. Köchert make her an entire suite of diamond stars. On their first wedding anniversary he presented them to his beloved wife, and she also wears them in her hair flowing down in what is probably her most famous portrait, painted by Franz Xaver Winterhalter in 1865. Both preferences, that for jewels set with Bohemian garnets and that for stars, were to persist until the early 20th century. These two fashions are combined in the present brooch of the 1890s. A multitude of Bohemian garnets of a quality rarely found today set the star close together, making it glow glowing red and occupying a total of four mounted levels. There are garnets in the Tafelschloff and such in the rose cut processed. As a last illustration we show a page from a jewellery catalogue of the company E. V. Roddin & Co. of the year 1888, which shows on the left below the centre a star of similar design.

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You can rely on our years of experience in the trade and our expertise as a professional art historians for reviews of the antique jewellery. As a member of various trader organisations and the British Society of Jewellery Historians, we remain committed to the highest possible degree of accuracy. In our descriptions, we always also indicate any signs of age and defects and never hide them in our photos – this saves you from any unpleasant surprises when your package arrives.

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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.

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