Empress Eugenie's tiara, c. 1850. Napoleon had jeweler Alexandre-Gabriel Lemonnier (c. 1808-1884) make this piece in the Louis XVI style, a filigree silver-gilt mount over-crusted with 1998 small diamonds. They surround much larger pearls, and give them absolute priority. The largest drop-shaped pearl in the top-most position is believed to be the “Perle Napoleon”
Carved conch-shell parure, Italian (Naples), c. 1860. This parure (a complete set of jewellery) consists of five pieces: a tiara, necklace, pendant, earrings and bracelet. The pendant converts to a brooch, so the whole set could be worn for a ball or a grand dinner. The earrings and bracelet made a demi-parure for more modest occasions. The parure is carved with sea-horses, dolphins, mermaids and shells.
Close-up view of the bracelet from the carved conch-shell parure, Italian (Naples), c. 1860. The parure was very likely carved and mounted in Naples, the centre of the shell and coral carving industry, or from one of the importers of Neapolitan jewellery in London. This parure has been in the De Beaumont family since the 19th C. Its excellent condition suggests that it was scarcely worn. It may instead have been displayed, as a gift at a wedding or as a souvenir of a visit to Italy.
Close-up view of the tiara from the carved conch-shell parure, Italian (Naples), c. 1860. The giant, or Queen, conch shell (Strombus gigas) was imported from the West Indies and occurs as distinct pink and white layers. Because the layers are relatively thin, and the strong colour occurs mainly on the lip of the shell, multiple pieces were often built up to create a high relief cameo effect.
Red jasper "Head of Medusa" cameo, by Benedetto Pistrucci (Italian, 1783-1855), with gold setting and white enamel wings, by Carlo Giuliano, English, mid-19th C. Pistrucci made this gem for the London dentist Samuel Cartwright, whose calling is reflected in Carlo Giuliano's frame incorporating the wings and snakes of Mercury's caduceus, the emblem of the medical profession.
Amethyst cameo and pearl bracelet, mid-19th C. This delightful bangle bracelet features a lovely lavender lady emerging from a shimmering amethyst. This wonderful, hand-carved, high-relief cameo is enhanced with an array of natural pearls set in silver over rose gold.
Jewellery fit for a Queen: Monarch to unveil collection of private treasures in time for 2012 Jubilee
Queen Victoria's diamond fringe brooch, English, 1856. The brooch was given to her by the Sultan of Turkey, Abdul Med 1. It was worn by the late Queen Mother for her daughter Elizabeth’s coronation in 1953.