Fine Jewellery

Pair of Antique Gold, Enamel and Pearl Bee Dangle Earrings


Shipping to United States: Free
  • Details
    A pair of 19th Century drop earrings, probably french from the Napoleonic era (1804-1821) given the golden bee motif on the Royal Blue background.

    The earrings consist of a round convex 14KT Yellow gold disc enamelled in royal blue with the gold bee at its centre. The disc has a twisted length of seed pearls claw set to the edge of the disc and from it's base hand a longer tear shaped gold piece where the design is repeated. The enamelling is delicate and very precise and in near perfect condition. The earrings hang from posts that are gold filigree balls that have been added at a much later date.

    The earrings have a drop of 1 3/4"

    Beautiful and unusual these are a great piece of Georgian jewellery that would look great worn today or as part of a collection

    Napoleon and the Bee

    After much consideration, Napoleon chose the bee as the emblem to represent his status as Emperor. It is a motif rich in meanings.

    Symbol of immortality and resurrection, the bee was chosen so as to link the new dynasty to the very origins of France. Golden bees (in fact, cicadas) were discovered in 1653 in Tournai in the tomb of Childeric I, founder in 457 of the Merovingian dynasty and father of Clovis. They were considered as the oldest emblem of the sovereigns of France. In seeking an appropriate emblem for himself, Napoleon looked to one of his great heroes and antecedents, the Emperor Charlemagne who had adopted the cicada as an emblematic device. Napoleon mistook its outline for that of the bee and, recognising the conventional symbolism associated with the bee found it suitable for his purposes.

    The bee had long been a symbol of the Christian Church and had been adopted by some saints (St Ambrose, for example, who likened the Church to a beehive) and was used in the seventeenth century by one of the leading Papal Dynasties in Rome, the Barberini family. For Christians those attributes of industriousness, diligence and good order were combined with the beneficence of the bees’ production of honey which symbolized both religious eloquence and the virtue and sweetness of God’s grace.

    According to legend the bee never sleeps so it has also come to imply vigilance and zeal – both attributes Napoleon was happy to own.

    Numerous versions of the bee were commissioned by Napoleon – from tiny sculptural representations, usually gilded and commonly attached to items such as snuff boxes, to the embroidered motifs on his coronation robe and printed or painted images on wallpaper.
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