Stardust

Precious star with large natural pearl and 96 diamonds, around 1890

Jewellery made of diamonds was in former times mainly reserved for the nobility. This was not only due to the special preciousness of the stones, which before the discovery of the large deposits in Brazil and South America were much rarer and therefore more precious than today! The occasions on which diamond jewellery could be worn were also more or less reserved for the nobility: grand balls, opera performances and soirées were only open to members of court society, until the bourgeoisie slowly conquered these places of social life in the course of the 19th century. Despite this change, some jewellery motifs have remained inextricably linked to some special crowned heads to this day. One of these is the diamond star brooch, which above all others brought fame and honour to Elisabeth of Austria, "Sisi". Unusually, Sisi wore the stars, made by the court jeweller Köchert, in her famous dark hair. Probably the most famous portrait of Sisi, painted by Franz Xaver Winterhalter in 1865, shows the young empress with a multitude of radiant diamond stars in her flowing hair. Such a piece from the end of the 19th century we have before us here. It is a twelve-pointed star, the centre of which is occupied by a wonderful oriental pearl. The shape of the star is formed by an intertwined ribbon from which rays in the form of small leaves shoot out. Since this piece of jewellery dates from an era when white gold had not yet been invented and platinum was known but not yet satisfactorily processed, the 96 white diamonds here are effectively set in silver. The reverse side, however, is made of gold, so that no metal stains even precious fabrics. The piece of jewellery can be worn as a brooch as well as a pendant and we discovered it in Hamburg. Enclosed is an illustration of a workshop version of the painting by Winterhalter, made 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.

We want you to be 100% satisfied! For that reason, we examine, describe and photograph all of our jewellery with the utmost care.

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.

Should you for some reason not be satisfied, please don’t hesitate to contact us so that we can begin to find a solution together. In any case, you can return any article within 30 days and we will refund the full purchase price.


OUR PROMISE

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.

Play