En tremblant-Flower Bouquet of Gemstones, Precious jewel on permanent loan new in historical collection
In a display case of the historical collection of Pforzheim’s Jewellery Museum, the sparkle has recently become even greater: a trembling brooch with a floral bouquet of gold, diamonds and emeralds is glittering there. This magnificent gem, probably from the 19th century, was recently given to the museum on permanent loan by a stroke of good fortune. Historians and some experts of the Hermitage in St. Petersburg have two assumptions about its origin.
The first, though less likely, is that several of these bouquets were made – personally commissioned by the Russian Empress Elizaveta Petrovna, mother-in-law of Catherine the Great, to be worn as corsage on grand occasions. Most of the empress’s jewellery was made in the 1750s, and this trembling brooch could be one of them.
The second and more likely assumption is that the ancestors of the present owners must have seen the brooch at the Treasury of the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, housed in the Winter Palace, where the jewels of the early empresses were kept and some of them were exhibited until the revolution of 1917. Very few people had access to this treasury. Carl Fabergé (1866-71) worked there voluntarily as a young man and was very familiar with the objects. The ancestors of the present owners, fascinated by the brooch in question, commissioned him to rework a similar one.
“I am delighted to be able to show this wonderful piece here,” says museum director Cornelie Holzach, “as well as the special story of its journey to us, which was only made possible by the great commitment of the owner.” For it is important to her to make this precious heirloom accessible to the public. The extensive search for a suitable location led the owner to Pforzheim’s Jewellery Museum. And it was there that she even travelled miles from her home country to deliver the gift in person.
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