To commemorate the jubilee year of the priestly ordination of Pope Leo XIII in 1887, Emperor Franz Josef of Austria (1830–1916) commissioned the court goldsmith to craft a cross to present to the pontiff as a worthy gift. The result was a superb table cross, the outstanding workmanship of which makes it one of the finest examples of goldwork ever produced under the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
Produced in cooperation with The Vatican Library Collection in Rome.
24K gold overlay, made with SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS. Lobster claw closure. Pendant: 1 1/2''L. Chain: 18''L.
- 24K gold overlay
- Chain: 18''LPendant: 1 1/2''L
- Lobster claw closure
Art HistoryThe original piece that the Museum’s cross pendant is based on consists of an elegantly designed cross with an elaborate base. No expense was spared to manufacture the piece, which, besides the various enamel details has a profusion of diamonds, sapphires, and natural pearls. The cross occupied a prominent place on the desk of the pontiff, in the library of the official papal apartment, and was later transferred to the Papal Sacristy, where it has since remained.