On Tue 7 Dec, two headpieces believed to have belonged to Empress Josephine Bonaparte of France are set to go on sale at Sotheby's London, after spending the last 150 years within the hands of one family, the Lascelles dynasty.
19th century tiara, which once belonged to Empress Joséphine Bonaparte of France, incorporating 25 engraved pieces. Image: Sotheby's
The tiaras studded with engraved gems and cameos, made in Paris in 1808 and each part of a set, are expected to fetch up to £500,000 ($684,629) combined, say Sotheby's.
"Josephine Bonaparte was a 19th century style icon. She innovated by wearing engraved gemstones and cameos alongside diamonds and pearls. Thanks to her extremely lavish spending, she helped revive the French luxury industry after it was decimated during the French Revolution. This is a very rare opportunity to own these museum-worthy jewels which are likely to appeal to wealthy connoisseurs with a sense of history." - Tobias Kormind is the managing director of Europe's largest online jeweller, the Mayfair headquartered 77 Diamonds
Some gems within the tiaras are thought to date back to 100 BC and were gifted to Josephine Bonaparte by her sister in law Caroline Bonaparte, Queen of Naples.
The engraved gems (known as intaglios) and classical cameos within the tiaras and gifted by the Queen of Naples, were mounted on the two bespoke neo-classical jewellery sets by court jewellers in Paris.
Two exquisite gold tiaras
The first set (estimated to fetch £200,000-£300,000) is a gold tiara with blue enamel and carnelian, set with 25 engraved pieces featuring male and female classical heads. The set also includes pendant earrings, a hair comb and belt ornament, with a central etched cameo of Bacchus, the Roman god of agriculture, wine and fertility.
The second set (estimated to fetch £100,000-£200,000) is a gold and enamel tiara with five cameos depicting Roman deities Zeus, Dionysus, Medusa, Pan and Gaia. It comes with a belt clasp and belt ornament.
Tobias Kormind, managing director of 77 Diamonds
Europe’s largest online diamond jeweller 77 Diamonds has an appointment only showroom and workshop in London’s Mayfair, with additional showrooms in Manchester, Frankfurt, Berlin and Zurich.
77 Diamonds has access to the largest source of diamonds in the world. Clients include captains of industry and stars of sport and music. 77 Diamonds sells both natural and lab-grown diamond jewellery.