Cameo Diadems of Empress Joséphine

After Napoléon’s coronation ceremony, where he proclaimed Joséphine Empress, she prized diadems made of cameos. Cameos are a raised image carved on hard stone, such as agate. They have been popular in jewelry design since Ancient Greece. However, Europeans preferred to create cameos out of conch shells.

This diadem resides in the Musee d’Art et d’Histoire, Palais Massena in Nice, France. The cameos are set in gold, silver, ivory, rubies, and sapphires.

This diadem is made from lapis cameos and delicate pearls set in gold. The center cameo portrays Napoléon Bonaparte. Notice how the raised sculptures are a bit darker than the background.

The cameos in this diadem are made from coral, each piece of which has color variations. It is set in gold with lapis-lazuli inlay. Given that Josephine was Empress from 1804 – 1810, when she agreed to a divorce because she could not bear a child, this design was way ahead of its time.

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For more scholarly research, please examine

Nineteenth Century Cameos by Michelle Rowan

Tiara by Diana Scarisbrick

The Rose of Martinique: A Life of Napoleon’s Josephine

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