Lady's ring

Basle(?), 19th century
Gold, diamond chips, enamel, diameter 2.4 cm
Inv. 1950.491.

2524px x 2756px
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To this ring there is a story attached. It is supposed to have its origin in a present given by Tsar Alexander I to a noblewoman of Basle. After the collapse of his empire in 1813 Napoleon was pursued by enemy troops to the Basle borders, and the city had to billet the officers passing through. In 1814 Tsar Alexander I lodged in the Segerhof, a mansion which in 1926 became the predecessor of the Haus zum Kirschgarten as a museum of domestic life and is now demolished. During his stay there he developed a personal friendship with the aged lady of the house, Dorothea Burckhardt Merian (1744-1821). According to tradition, on his departure in the same year Alexander presented her with a rectangular brooch with a topaz set in its centre. Her descendants are presumed to have had the brooch reworked into several pieces of jewellery, one of which is possibly this ring.

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