A rare pair of carved coral cameos commemorating the marriage of Napoléon Bonaparte and his second wife, the archduchess Maire-Louise of Austria, in 1810. The cameo of Marie-Louise is signed, the signature on the left with a name that appears to be "Dies". These would have been purchased and cherished by loyalists of Napoleon Bonaparte. The back of Napoleon has a faded sticker for the number 29, indicating it was once part of a catalogued collection.
Mediterranean coral was the most popular precious gemstone during the French Empire. Coral was harvested off the coast of Italy and carved in earlier centuries in Trapani, Sicily, and then in the 18th and 19th centuries in Naples. Each pendant is very finely carved in exquisite detail, set in silver; that of Marie-Louise is slightly larger than Napoleon. These are two rare pieces of Napoleonic history, rarely to be found again in a pair, and of this quality.
Condition: Marie-Louise is in lovely condition, Napoléon is visibly broken at the top right, the setting is holding the pieces in place (they are secure), it's evident that the plaque was set after the breakage.
Marie-Louise: 25mm without the bale x 23mm, 7.1 grams
Napoleon: 23mm x 22mm, 7 grams
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