Large Antique 19th Century Gilded French Diadem Religious Crown

***SOLD***With an extremely wide diadem face, this exquisitely gilded diadem has a very impressive countenance. It originates from the south of France and dates circa 1880.

This spectacular example would have adorned the head of a very large statue of the Virgin Mary (the color associated with her is blue: "This tradition can trace its origin to the Byzantine Empire, from circa 500 AD, where blue was "the color of an empress". ... Hence, it was an expression of devotion and glorification to swathe the Virgin in gowns of blue").

The center front measures 3" tall and is angled forward at 45 degrees. The wide gilded frontispiece is filled by an intricate cutwork design of bronze/brass. Acanthus leaves float in the center of horseshoe shapes, stylized scallops, arabesques openwork flowers and arabesque scrolls are worked tightly together to form an impressive lace work design. The immense cutwork is especially beautiful when viewed from the back.

There is one very large sapphire blue glass stone (in a raised mount, 1/4", bezel set, stone measures 7/8" tall) at the center front. It is framed by large clear stones and has an oval gilded brass frame of repeating dots. Two identical large sapphire stone settings are placed to the right and left of the center and are turned to a horizontal angle. There are clear and sapphire stones interspersed among the design.

The bottom band is set with clear 31 faceted clear glass stones. The right back band has five notches of adjustment and a support band which encircles the two facing back bands. The circumference of the bottom band, when set in the last notch, is 19 1/2". The diameter of the inner space ranges from 5 1/4" to 5 3/4". It is in very good antique condition: slight irregular bends to the bottom band and edges of the frontispiece as is typical with age and use. It retains

The French history of these beautiful specimens is poignant. All parishes, even the smallest, had gilded adornments for the altar, religious statues and niches. In the mid 1940's the Pope ordered any "unnecessary" adornments to be removed from the parishes. This, combined with pieces which were sold to fund church improvement, etc. caused the vast majority of gilded accessories to be taken from their sacred spaces. While once easily found in the antiques market, they are becoming more rare with each passing year.

To find a glorious example such as this is rare. It is a spectacular religious decorative work with a noble history.



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