The Crown and its Mystery


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Medieval Western Europe was made out of three traditions: Classical, Judaic and Germanic, where Christianity served as a cement for what was there before and what came after. This large topaz was carved in antiquity and later framed by the Merovingian jewelers – precious stones were believed to have apotropaic qualities, warded off evil and were likely to end up in treasuries of famous cathedrals.

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All Medieval jewelry had a meaning of talisman. The wedding ring, for example, was symbolically placed on three different fingers; this is why Eleanor of Aquitaine wore three of them on her right hand.

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This crown displays all the properties of talisman: it is not just a victor’s wreath, the way it was understood in antiquity, but primarily a reliquary that is a repository of physical remains of holy men – their teeth, hair, nails, and pieces of bones, as well as various splinters, shreds and threads of coffins, crosses and shrouds, especially the much prized souvenir of war tourism, the True Cross from Golgotha.

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This crown, which is the crown of Louis XV, was also used as a repository of precious stones — the so called jewels of the crown. Right away we feel the ambiguity of expression, for the jewels of the crown means the jewels that belong to that frame on the day of coronation and are later pried out to be worn separately, as well as all the jewels of extraordinary value that happened to touch the royal person, and are of historical significance. All that is easy enough; however, there is the third meaning that can be challenging: Did you know that even to this day the French Republic doesn’t rule in its own right, but serves as a regent to the crown?

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About versaillesgossip, before and after Francis Ponge

The author of the blogs Versailles Gossip and Before and After Francis Ponge, Vadim Bystritski lives and teaches in Brest France. The the three main themes of his literary endeavours are humor, the French Prose Poetry, the French XVII and XVIII Century Art and History. His writings and occasionally art has been published in a number of ezines (Eratio, Out of Nothing, Scars TV, etc). He also contributes to Pinterest where he comments on the artifiacts from the Louvre and other collections. Some of his shorter texts are in Spanish, Russian and French.
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3 Responses to The Crown and its Mystery

  1. Regina says:

    Interestingly…Robert Goossens, Coco Chanel and Verdura must have looked at these, for the very resemblance in their jewelry is quite apparent!

  2. Regina says:

    Vintage Chanel, Goossens and Verdura are steeped in Byzantine to the Rococco…nowadays it’s all rehash of the originals…thought the true originals are now in museums and private collections, which Chanel had extensive of as gifts from Grand Duke Pavlovitch Romanov and Bend’Or the Duke of Westminster in the 1920s-30s. Your in Paris, so must stop in one day at Goossens, now owned by Chanel…ask for a tour of the historic pieces…your a scholar and they would be more than happy to contribute to your spectre of knowledge for your devotees to indulge in.

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