Placed in an Edwardian setting, the Cullinan Blue Diamond appealed more to me than the Hope Diamond. This time the camera did not capture it's full brilliance. Its brilliance and clarity can be better seen in the Smithsonian's image.
Then I turned a corner and was completely stunned by more jewelry. These pear shaped diamond earrings that belonged to Marie Antoinette were exquisite! Alas, we are not viewing the original setting of these lovely diamonds. Cartier had reset these, as he had the Hope Diamond, in 1928.
Next to the Marie Antoinette display was the Napoleonic display! These beauties were gifts from Napoleon to his second wife, Empress Marie Louise. The diadem was gifted to her in 1810, and the necklace a year later in 1811.
Originally, this diadem was set in emeralds when Napoleon gave them to his new wife as a wedding present. The emeralds were replaced with turquoise in the 1950's.
When their son was born a year later, Napoleon gifted his wife this necklace. When Marie Louise returned to her homeland of Austria, she brought all of her jewelry with her. After she passed away in 1847, her sister-in-law Archduchess Sophie of Austria inherited this necklace. The Archduchess had the necklace altered, by having 2 of the diamonds removed so they could become earrings. The earrings have since been lost. These are otherwise in their original setting...so we can experience the effect of the stones in their old-style cut.