Antique 19th Century French Gilded Brass Religious Diadem Crown

A very elegant and striking Santos crown, it originates from a fine collection from the Champagne region of France and dates circa 1860.

In the 19th century, beautiful crowns adorned the statues of the Virgin Mary and the Christ Child in Catholic churches across France. The period of Napoleon III or Second Empire style took its inspiration from several different periods and styles, which were often combined together. Elements of the French Renaissance, the architecture of Palladio, and French Baroque are found in objects from this period.

This crown would have adorned a small statue of the Virgin Mary. It is extremely elaborate for it's size. The face of the diadem is wide and thick, measuring 6" across and 2" tall at the center. There are two large, detailed gilded brass leaves at the beginning of the design field. They are deeply grooved and have a "ruffled" appearance; they seem to float above the bottom band. Two large stars connect the leaves to a row of four repeating flowers. There is a large central star which is flanked by eight columns of glass stones, which rise from a thin supporting band (the band is worked in two halves). There are brass tendrils beside the star and stylized flowers to the left and right. Small flowers rest atop the two side stars. The entire face is encrusted with over 100 bezel set clear glass stones.

The bottom band has four notches at the back for adjusting the circumference (from 9"-11"). The metal form is heavily gilded and has a slight angle forward which serves to enhance the beauty when viewed from below (the statue would have rested above a person's viewing site line). It is in very good antique condition: the band has has slight irregular bends as is typical with age and use.

It is one of the most beautiful that we have found to date. The large number of glass stones set into a very wide design field give the crown an air of nobility and grandeur.

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