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Maximilian Emerald

Photograph of the Maxmillian emerald ring (NMNH G5024), digitally enhanced by SquareMoose for a 2017 jewelry publication by the Hillwood Museum
Photo by Chip Clark and digitally enhanced by SquareMoose. Click to zoom.
Catalog Number NMNH G5024-00
Locality Colombia
Weight 21.04 ct

Gift of Mrs. Marjorie M. Post in 1964.This object was designed by Cartier, Inc.

This 21.04-carat Colombian emerald was once set in a ring worn by Mexico’s ill-fated emperor, Ferdinand Maximilian Joseph. An Austrian archduke crowned emperor of Mexico in 1864, he was executed during an uprising only three years later. The emerald has the rich deep grass-green color of emeralds from Colombia as well as fine clarity and transparency. It was the first important gemstone to enter Mrs. Marjorie Merriweather Post’s collection in 1928. The emerald was remounted in 1949 by Cartier into its current platinum ring setting with six baguette cut diamonds.  Mrs. Post donated the Maximilian Emerald Ring to the Smithsonian in 1964. Marjorie Merriweather Post was heiress to the Post cereal fortune and a collector of French and Russian art. This ring is one of several major donations she generously gifted to the National Gem Collection; others include the Blue Heart Diamond, Napoleon Diamond Necklace, Marie-Louise Diadem, Post Emerald Necklace, and Marie Antoinette Earrings (through her daughter Eleanor Barzin). Along with these amazing gifts, the Maximilian Emerald Ring is on display in the Gem Gallery at the National Museum of Natural History.


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