The Talisman of Charlemagne: New Historical and Gemological Discoveries

Panczer, Gerard and Riondet, Geoffray and Forest, Lauriane and Krzemnicki, Michael S. and Carole, Davy and Faure, Florian . (2019) The Talisman of Charlemagne: New Historical and Gemological Discoveries. Gems & Gemology, 55 (1). pp. 30-46.

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Official URL: https://edoc.unibas.ch/79312/

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The gem-bearing reliquary known as the Talisman of Charlemagne is closely associated with the history of Europe. Its legend follows such figures as Charlemagne, Napoleon I, Empress Josephine, Hortense de Beauharnais, Napoleon III, and Empress Eugénie. This study provides new historical information collected in France, Germany, and Switzerland about the provenance of this exceptional jewel, which contains a large glass cabochon on the front, a large blue-gray sapphire on the back, and an assortment of colored stones and pearls. The first scientific gemological analysis of this historical piece, carried out on-site at the Palace of Tau Museum in Reims, France, has made it possible to identify the colored stones and offer insight into their possible geographic origins. Based on our data and comparison with similar objects of the Carolingian period, we propose that the blue-gray sapphire is of Ceylonese (Sri Lankan) origin, that the garnets originate from India or Ceylon, and that most of the emeralds are from Egypt except for one from the Habachtal deposit of Austria. The estimated weight of the center sapphire is approximately 190 ct, making it one of the largest known sapphires as of the early seventeenth century.
Faculties and Departments:05 Faculty of Science
05 Faculty of Science > Departement Umweltwissenschaften > Ehemalige Einheiten Umweltwissenschaften > Mineralogie-Petrographie
UniBasel Contributors:Krzemnicki, Michael S.
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Publisher:Gemological Institute of America
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
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Last Modified:23 Nov 2020 16:37
Deposited On:23 Nov 2020 16:37

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