The Private collection, the only one of its scope in existence, tells the story of the emerald through jewelry and objets d’art. Past, present, and future are woven together by this selection of heirloom pieces that transects the stylistic trends and events to which the emerald has borne witness. The sophisticated technique of 17th-century jewelers is illustrated by a sumptuous orb of gold surmounted by a cross, an emblem of power, embellished with 37 emeralds set in gold thread. Other treasures of the collection include the legendary Atocha cross and ring that went down with the Spanish galleon of the same name when it was shipwrecked off the coast of Florida in 1622, and were recovered in 1985 as part of a haul valued at $500 million dollars.
This orb was made by goldsmiths in either Colombia or one of the other Spanish strongholds along the route of Spanish treasure ships from the New World to Europe or Asia. The very high number of emeralds from the Muzo mine, 37, makes Colombia a more likely origin for the creation of this piece.
A Globus Cruciger is an orb with a cross. The Orb symbolizes the cosmos or the world; the cross, a symbol of Christ, denotes Christian authority. Traditionally the Globus Cruciger has been used in two contexts, one as an emblem of royal power by Christian monarchs, another, to indicate Christ’s sovereignty over the cosmos. This orb was likely a processional orb, used in yearly processions from the church celebrating Easter or saints’ days.
The 37 emeralds in the orb are all of Colombian origin from the mine that King Charles of Spain ordered to be the Royal emerald mine of the New World: Muzo. The town of Muzo was a center of not only emerald mining but also numerous Spanish royal bureaucratic ministries like the royal Mine and Counting House. The numerous pear shape emeralds are of the same cut as emeralds on Spanish crosses and brooches from the 1600’s and 1700’s.
THE ATOCHA CROSS
This 22K yellow gold and emerald cross represents the most prized of all artifacts from the Nuestra Señora de Atocha shipwreck. This rare ornate cross was found in what was the hull of what was this unfortunate ship.
THE ATOCHA RING
This elegant and delicate ring speaks for itself. The emerald is a brilliant green and weighs approximately 2.5 carats. The gemstone originated from Colombia's famed Muzo mine, which is known for its bounty and constant production of the highest quality emeralds in the world market.
It is set in a high karat gold ring which was typical of the wealthier class during the 17th century.