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One of the largest historic residences in Europe
Mannheim Baroque Palace
Diadem of Grand Duchess Stéphanie von Baden. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Werner Hiller-König

A Parisian treasureThe grand duchess'diadem

The crown jewel of the permanent exhibition is the diadem of Grand Duchess Stéphanie von Baden, made of pearls and diamonds and likely made in Paris.

Diadem of Grand Duchess Stéphanie, early 19th century, part of the coronation insignia (crown jewels) of Stéphanie (born Beauharnais, 1789–1860). Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Arnim Weischer

A piece of jewelry in original condition.

Pearls and diamonds

The diadem consists of a gilded circlet with crown-like points, richly set with pearls and diamonds. Notwithstanding pearls that were added later, the piece of jewelry is in its original condition. It was likely made in Paris at the beginning of the 19th century.

A decorative headdress

In the first half of the 19th century, ladies wore their hair pinned up, with locks of hair left down to frame the face. Diadems, placed in the hair at an angle, therefore looked decorative rather than regal and were worn at receptions and balls.

Portrait of Grand Duchess Stéphanie von Baden, Pierre-Paul Prud’hon, watercolor circa 1820, Mannheim Palace. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, credit unknown

Stéphanie bequeathed the diadem to her daughter.

A family heirloom

After Stéphanie's death in 1860, her daughter, Joséphine von Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, inherited the valuable piece of jewelry. After being inherited several times, the diadem became the possession of Marie José of Belgium, who married Prince Umberto of Italy, the last Italian king, in 1930. In the end, the headdress was offered at auction in London and purchased by the State of Baden-Württemberg for Mannheim Palace.

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