Celebrated Charles the Bold Jewel Traveled Before Returning to His Family

This Duke of Burgundy, owner of Charles the Bold Jewel, also wore a cap covered with pearls.

One of the greatest jewels of the fifteenth century was the Charles the Bold Jewel. He was the Duke of Burgundy (1433-1477).

According to notes and drawings (Published by Lambeccius in "Bibliotheca Caesarea," Bol. II, Pl 516.) made in 1555 by J.J. Fugger of Nuremberg, who was the banker jeweler of his generation, this consisted of a large pyramid diamond five eighths of an inch square at the base, with the apex cut as a four-rayed star in relief; surrounding this were three rectangular pyramid-shaped rubies and three magnificent pearl-shaped pearls, and a large ovate pearl was suspended from the lowest ruby.

The pear pearls are described as measuring half and inch in diamenter and must have weighed about sixty grain each.

This magnificent jewel was probably the most celebrated in Europe during the fifteenth century.

According to Comines, on the defeat of the Grand duke of the plundering of his baggage by the Swiss at Granson, in 147, the ornament was found by a careless soldier who tossed it away, but retained the gold box containing it.

On second thought, he searched for and recovered the jewel and sold it to a priest for one florin, and the ecclesiastic sold it to a Bernese government official for the sum of three florins.

Some years later this jewel, together with the ducal cap of Charles the Bold, which was covered with pearls, and bore a plume case, set with diamonds (points), alterment to Jacob Fugger, as related by J.J. Fugger in the manuscript above noted, "for no more than 47,000 florins."

In the vain hope that it would be purchased by Emperor Charles V, grandson of Charles the Bold, Fugger held the jewel for many years, but he broke up the cap and reset the stones in it for Maximilian II.

The brooch was finally sold to Henry VIII of England just before his death, and it passed to his daughter and successor, Bloody Mary, who presented it to her Spanish bridegroom, Philip.

Thus, after seventy-six years, the jewel was restored to a descendant of the original owner. This history has been given at some length owing to its illustration of the manner in which great pearls were easily lost on battle-fields and were passed about from one country to another. Charles the Bold Jewel as told by George Kunz and Charles Stevenson in “The Book of the Pearl”.

Go to main famous pearls and collections after Charles the Bold Jewel.

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