The Engagement Ring Of Napoleon To Josephine Up For Auction
18th Century French military mastermind Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821) who is best known for his martial brilliance had a home life that we rarely consider.
He married in 1796 to Josephine de Beauharnais. He was only 26 while she was 32, a widow from the Revolution. He used to send her love letters from battle.
The ring Napoleon gave to Josephine for their engagement is said to be “in good condition” and is now at French auction house, Osenat, with items of Napoleon-related items ready to go on sale next week. The ring features a pear-shaped diamond alongside a pear-shaped sapphire in a gold band. No carat sizes are listed.
It is expected to fetch between 18,000 euros and 20,000 euros (from $23,500 to $26,000). The official listing can be seen here.
The auction house says the ring is mentioned in the inventory of Farnborough as the ring that Napoleon gave Josephine for their engagement. It was in the collection of the emperor’s grandson, Napoleon III, and wife Empress Eugénie, and then their descendants.
18th Century France was in turmoil. We can get an empathic sense of the times through Victor Hugo`s powerful “Les Miserables“ and its musical production. The Age of Enlightenment followed by waves of French Revolution spelled for political, philosophical, artistic and personal turmoil. This ring has a simplicity and elegance that speaks volumes. Two contrasting and complimenting tear drops. Like theatre masks representing comedy and tragedy of life, like the marriage vows that remind us of the good and bad in love and life. He was offering Josephine his solemn vow “to be your partner in sickness and in health, in good times and in bad, and in joy as well as in sorrow“. As it turned out, he didn`t get the balance right, and both spouses had love affairs resulting in public humiliation and divorce. The ring steadfastly remains, telling us a story that might remind us that there is no day without night in love and in life.
Do you have a story you want to tell? Is there a symbol that uniquely expresses your love for your partner, or your success at work, or your dearly departed? Jewellery is a great way to immortalise this feeling or memory. At Secret Sapphire Luxury Jewellery in Yaletown, Vancouver we specialize in custom jewellery. Visit us at 493 Davie Street or call us at 604-558-3638 to make an appointment with resident GIA gemmologist and jewellery designer Monica Tsao to make your inspiration a reality.
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