The Duchess of Angoulême Emerald Tiara was created by Maison Bapst, jeweler to the French Court, for the only surviving child of King Louis XVI and Queen Marie Antoinette, Princess Marie-Thérèse Charlotte of France.
The tiara was created many years after the French Revolution; between September 1819 and July 1820 with stones already in the French Treasury. It’s made out of gold. The emeralds and diamonds are set in silver. The large center emerald weighs almost 16 carats. The tiara is set with 40 emeralds for a total weight of 79.12 carats. The emeralds are surrounded by over one thousand diamonds. (1,031 to be exact.)
Princess Marie-Thérèse, Duchess of Angoulême, may have been in need of regal jewelry because in 1799 she married an heir to the throne, her first cousin Louis Antoine, Duke of Angoulême, son of Louis XVI’s younger brother, Charles X. (As an aside, the Duke of Angoulême briefly reigned as Louis XIX for about 20 minutes, before he abdicated.)
Later, the emerald and diamond tiara became the favorite tiara of the beautiful Empress Eugénie, wife of Napoleon III. After the defeat of Napoleon III in 1870, the jewel became the property of the state. However, the French sold it in 1887, along with the other crown jewels.
In modern times, the tiara came into the possession of Lady Belinda Lambton, wife of the Conservative Defense Minster, Lord Lambton. Throughout Lady Lambton’s ownership, it was kept safe inside Wartski’s vaults. Before Lord Lambton’s death in 2006, it was sold to the Louvre, where it’s been on display ever since.
Tiaras: A History of Splendour by Geoffrey C. Munn
Wartski: The First One Hundred and Fifty Years by Geoffrey C. Munn