The brilliant gilding combined with a large central stone surrounded by a field of brilliant blue glass stones give this diadem Santos crown a royal presence. It is an authentic antique, with provenance from a fine collection in Paris. It dates from the late 19th century.
Towards the mid 20th century churches started to consider these beautiful pieces unnecessary and sold them into the antique markets where they were readily purchased. Today, fewer and fewer of these authentic examples make their way into the marketplace.
This is a diadem crown which would have graced the head of a Madonna Santos statue. It has the loveliest of filigree "cisele" (hand-cut) gilded brass motifs featuring leaves, arabesques and scrolls (all textured and fanciful). The central network of stones is impressive with a field of sapphire blue glass stones which rival the blue heavens. A center flower with red stones surrounding a large (3/4" x 5/8") faceted stone gives an amazing reflection in prisms of light. Ruby red glass stones top the center, clear glass stones ornament the bottom band. There are hollow circles at the back of the band for threading a ribbon for adjustment onto a particular statue. The delicate detail and the rich patina are hallmarks of the style and production of late 19th century Santos crowns.
It measures: 2 3/4" tall at front center, 4 1/4" in diameter for the interior band, total circumference of band 15", the sides taper down to 1 1/2" tall. It is in very good antique condition, there are slight irregularities in the shaping of the gilded brass band as is typical with the delicate pieces which rested on statues for many years. There are no missing stones. The crown has been cleaned, there may be some replacement stones as is typical with these old pieces.
It is a beautiful example, the perfect size for a small to medium Santos statue.