Order of the Golden Fleece

C. 1825 | France | Gold, silver, diamond, sapphire, ruby

The Order of the Golden Fleece is recognised as one of the most honourable and illustrious chivalric orders of the world. It was founded by Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy of France and modelled after Order of the Garter, founded by the King of England. The story of the Golden Fleece comes from ancient Greek mythology, where the Argonauts went on an expedition in quest of the Golden Fleece. This chivalric order was later inherited by the Habsburg dynasty and the Bourbons, as the new kings of Spain, also claimed sovereignty of the order. Therefore, two branches of the order exist today, namely the Spanish and the Austrian Fleece.

This Order of the Golden Fleece, entirely mounted with gemstones, is a marvellous creation. It belonged to Louis Antoine (1775 – 1844), the last Dauphin of France. After the outbreak of the July Revolution, his father Charles X abdicated. Louis Antoine needed to sign the instrument of abdication and a document renouncing the right to the throne, and he became technically the king of France, as Louis XIX, in the 20 minutes between the signing of these two documents.

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