Diamonds have long symbolized political power and authority in Europe. This book explores the individuals who commissioned and wore extraordinarily precious diamond ornaments from the mid-fourteenth century to the present day.
Exquisite paintings and breathtaking photography highlight the diamonds of figures as enduring as Louis XIV of France and Queen Elizabeth I of Great Britain, as well as screen icons such as Elizabeth Taylor. From Lisbon to London and Stockholm to St. Petersburg, these figures used diamond jewelry to reinforce their power. Like royal dress, diamonds were worn to dazzle and impress—at weddings, coronations, christenings, and state visits—and were presented as gifts, which often proved remarkably successful as instruments of diplomacy.
More than three hundred illustrations capture the changing styles of diamond jewelry that mirror the trends of the time: late Gothic naturalism, the culture of the Renaissance, Baroque splendor, Rococo elegance and the imperial grandeur of the First and Second Napoleonic Empires. This book offers a fascinating overview of one of the world’s most iconic gems.
Diana Scarisbrick is an art historian specializing in the history of engraved gems and jewelry. Her publications include Rings: Jewelry of Power, Love and Loyalty and Portrait Jewels: Opulence and Intimacy from the Medici to the Romanovs.