German, 72 x 44 mm, circa 1900
A very fine gold enamel amulet studded with diamonds and miniature portrait of the last German Emperor, William II
Case: matted gold, oval shape, central miniature watercolour on ivory under glass, within a frame studded with half pearls, translucent cobalt blue enamel ground with engine-turned pattern, applied insignia of Emperor William II, diamond-studded imperial crown. Back with engraved cartouche with initial "W" and imperial crown.
The applied miniature shows the badge of the Order of the Black Eagle founded in 1701; it was the highest order of chivalry in Prussia and was awarded by the sovereign until the end of the monarchy in 1918. Afterwards the order was awarded to members of the house of Hohenzollern. Here the badge is shown suspended from a chain (as worn by knights invested into the order).
This kind of amulet represented the highest mark of favour when the order itself could not be awarded, most likely a merit for a member of the royal house.
A similar presentation brooch that was originally a part of the Spada Collection is today in the Musée de la Légion d'Honneur in Paris; it shows, however, the uniform of the hussars while this piece shows that of the Gardes du Corps.
Kindly supported by Mr. Zimmermann (Hermann Historica Munich).
William II (German: Wilhelm II) (1859-1941)
William II (born Prince Frederick William Victor Albert of Prussia; German: Prinz Friedrich Wilhelm Viktor Albert von Preußen) was the last German Emperor and King of Prussia (German: Deutscher Kaiser und König von Preußen), ruling both the German Empire and the Kingdom of Prussia from 15 June 1888 to 9 November 1918.