The Victorians were masters of hidden messages and, as such, jewels from this period abound with hidden meanings cloaked in the secret language of symbols as a way of subtly conveying sentiments in an age of complex etiquettes and strict social rules. The star motif, featuring abundantly in jewels of this era, represented direction and guidance for the spirit.
This engrailed circlet crowned by a series of twelve-pointed stars, complete with necklace and ear pendants en suite, are set throughout with old-cut diamonds, evoking the shimmering impression of a clear night sky. It is remarkable to find an important antique parure such as this having survived complete with all its original elements.
Star jewels became almost de rigueur by the end of the 19th century and were favoured by the beautiful Empress Elisabeth of Austria, affectionately nicknamed 'Sisi', depicted here in her courtly gala dress with pearl and diamond hair pins made by the court jeweller, Köchert. Sisi purportedly requested twenty-seven of these star motif jewels, some of which she gave as gifts to her ladies-in-waiting and some of which have remained in the family.