Electress Palatine & Her Jewels

During the seventeenth century in Europe and England, expansion of trade and industry led to a period wherein costume was influenced more by currents in art and intellectual thought than by any other factor.  When she was 23 Anna Maria de Medici (1667-1743), painted by Gian Francesco Douren, married the Elector Palatine Johann Wilhelm. The Medici workshops created an exemplary trousseau of works of art, which she took to Dusseldorf with her. However when she returned to Florence a childless widow she brought back an outstanding collection of jewellery now known as the ‘Electress’ Jewels, and they originally numbered just on 1000 objects. Today there are only a few dozen, with many pieces taken apart, melted down, or dispersed at auctions. She did her best to keep the family collections intact and her will clearly specified ‘that nothing was to be transported and removed from the Capital and the State of the Grand Duchy’. She was the last of the famous Medici family of Florence and her death in 1743 brought their dynasty to an end.

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