Marie Louise Diadem
The Marie-Louise Diadem was most likely a wedding gift from Napoleon I to his second wife, Empress Marie-Louise in 1810. The diadem was originally part of a set that also included a necklace, comb, belt buckle, and earrings, all made of emeralds and diamonds set in silver and gold, made by French jeweler Etienne Nitot et Fils of Paris. Empress Marie-Louise bequeathed the diadem to her Hapsburg aunt, Archduchess Elise. Archduke Karl Stefan Hapsburg of Sweden, a descendent of the Archduchess sold the set to Van Cleef & Arpels in 1953, along with a document attesting to their provenance. Between May 1954 and June 1956, the emeralds were removed and sold individually in pieces of jewelry as "emeralds from the historic Napoleon Tiara." Between 1956 and 1962, Van Cleef & Arpels mounted turquoise to replace the original emeralds in the diadem. In 1962, the diadem was displayed in the Louvre in Paris with the necklace, earrings, and comb in an exhibit about Empress Marie-Louise. In 1971, Marjorie Merriweather Post, heiress to the Post cereal fortune, purchased the diadem for the Smithsonian Institution. There are 1,006 old mine cut diamonds weighing a total of 700 carats and 79 Persian turquoise stones weighing a total of 540 carats.
Image Number: 96-30131
Catalog Number: G5021
Weight: 700 carats
Gift: Mrs. Marjorie Merriweather Post