This is an absolutely stunning Santos or Madonna Tiara dating from the late 19th century. It is large and would have graced the head of a nearly life-sized religious statue.
Santos or Madonna crowns are becoming increasingly hard to find. In French history, they were destroyed during the Revolution, then remade during the period from 1850-1890 (each parish took up donations from parishioners to purchase these iconic items). Around 1940, the Pope ordered the sale of all items in the Catholic parishes of France that were not "completely necessary". Santos and Madonna crowns, along with vestments and statues were unceremoniously sold into the antique markets. These crowns are rarely seen ornamenting statues today in Catholic churches across France. Each surviving crown is a special part of French Catholic history.
The body of this crown is made of Latten (modern day spelling Laiton), which is a hard medieval metal made of copper and zinc, much resembling brass. It was formerly used chiefly for making church utensils and decorative objects.The body of this tiara is a viewer's delight, with swirling arabesques and flowers.
There are over 100 prong-set crystal stones in red, royal blue and clear. There is a glorious large royal blue oval faceted stone (decoratively prong-set) in the center with two flanking ruby red oval faceted stones (decoratively prong-set). All the stones are in fine condition, with no missing stones. It measures 7 1/4" wide, 8" deep and 4 1/2" tall at the center point.
This tiara would make a stunning centerpiece to any collection. It is unusually tall at the center front and fans out at slanted angles. This body shape gives the tiara an awe inspiring presence when viewed (as it was designed to be) from standing below.
We pictured the tiara on two different color backgrounds for better clarity.
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