Crown of the Andes

Crown of the Andes

The Crown of Our Lady of the Assumption of Popayán, known as the Crown of the Andes (in Spanish as La Corona de los Andes and as La Corona de Nuestra Señora de la Asunción de Popayán), is a votive crown originally made for a larger-than-life sized statue of the Virgin Mary in the cathedral of Popayán, Colombia. The oldest parts of the crown are the orb and cross at the top, which date to the 16th century. The diadem was made around 1660, and the arches were added around 1770.[1] The crown is adorned with 450 emeralds, the largest of which is the "Atahualpa Emerald"; this might have belonged to Incan Emperor Atahualpa (1497–1533) and been seized from him when he was captured in 1532 by Francisco Pizarro, a Spanish conquistador.[2][3] In 1936, the crown was sold by its owners to an American businessman and it has remained in the United States ever since. As of December 2015, the crown belongs to the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.[4]

Description

The crown is 34 centimetres (13 in) high with a body diameter of 33.4 centimetres (13.1 in),[1] and weighs 2.17 kilograms (4.8 lb). It is made from 18–22 carat gold, repoussé and chased. There are 450 emeralds on it: the largest, known as the "Atahualpa Emerald", is a rectangular stone measuring 15.8 millimetres (0.62 in) by 16.14 millimetres (0.635 in).[5]

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