Antique 19th Century French Gilded Brass Diadem Santos Crown

**SOLD** This is a fine example of a French Religious Diadem crown which once honored a Santos statue of the Virgin Mary. It originates from Paris and dates circa 1900. A diadem is a type of crown, specifically an ornamental headband worn by monarchs and others as a badge of royalty. This symbol is used in religion in reference to the crowning of Mary in Heaven.

This history of the French Santos crown is poignant. In the mid-nineteenth century even the smallest parish was adorned with silver, gold, brass, bronze and vermeil accessories. These objects were often donated by parishioners in honor or thanksgiving of prayers answered. In the mid 1940's the reigning Pope ordered that all "unnecessary" adornments be removed. Following this great exodus of beautiful accessories saw each parish having the ability to sell pieces to fund other needs or change the mode of the decor. With so many things scattered in many directions, the Santos crown is becoming very rare in today's market.

This is a cast bronze/brass example. The face is wide with the design flowing toward the center. Religiously symbolic wheat sheaves and grape leaves float horizontally. Arabesques and fine linear supports connect the design elements. The central stone (7/8" tall) is of an unusual rose pink. It is surrounded by 15 clear faceted glass stones. Many (55) clear glass stones are sprinkled across the entire design, accented by 12 emerald green stones. The bottom band creates a channel for a chain of clear faceted glass stones (38). There are three slots of adjustment on the back band for customization to a particular statue.

The crown is in fantastic condition, with a brilliant patina and all stones present. There are a couple of tiny spots of tarnish on a few of the leaves. The form is sound and the design intact. It measures: 2 1/4" tall at the center and 1/2" at either end. The diameter of the band, set in the middle notch, is 5" x 4". The band is pliable to adjust to an oval or circular head.

It is a precious example with a rich history.

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