Red Gold Jewellery – Mediterranean Jewellery -France 2021
The Postal Union for the Mediterranean (PUMed), created in Rome on March 15, 2011, by 14 postal operators from the Mediterranean region under the aegis of the Universal Postal Union (UPU), now has up to 23 members. .
The Euromed Postal stamp project is a joint commitment, consisting of the annual issue of a stamp on the same theme. In 2021, traditional jewels from the Mediterranean.
3 emblematic jewels from French Mediterranean departments illustrate the stamp.
The Maltese cross and its runner (Museon Arlaten):
Since the 12th century, the Order of Malta has maintained privileged links with Arles. In the 17th century he set up his Grand Priory there. The insignia of the Knights of Malta will naturally inspire the decor of many Arles jewelry. Diverted by the addition of a bail, a pendant and 3 diamonds, the Maltese Cross has a dimension that varies from 20 to 80 millimeters. Often enamelled, it adorns the neckline and highlights the marked taste of Arlésiennes for this elegant and evocative shape of the sovereign order, very present in Provence.
The large-modulus Maltese crosses are the most spectacular and the most worn, especially in the wealthiest families of the Third Estate. They are enamelled, white on the obverse and black on the reverse, like military insignia. The branches are connected to each other by four stylized fleur-de-lis around a bezel-set bezel supporting a rose-cut diamond. They are finally decorated with a teardrop at the bottom, and a ring at the top, allowing them to hang on a ribbon tightened by a slip, high on the neck.
The “coulas” bracelet (Museon Arlatan):
Bangles embellished with a charm are distinguished by the social class of their owner
In the 18th century, the most humble peasant women mainly wore “coulas” bracelets made up of a silver circle enlivened by an enamel medal or a small flat or Maltese cross. Better-off peasant women can also acquire a few gold cross pendant with flowing. Wealthy craftswomen, wives of wealthy landowners and middle-class women choose to wear a gold “coulas” bracelet on their right wrists identified as “rings worn by the Romans” by Father Papon and later defined as “ancient torque” .
In gold or silver, it is offered to the young bride. It is a very simple bangle, embellished with a charm or a Maltese cross, sometimes enamelled, simple or on a medal, which will be worn as is until the Restoration.
Its area of expansion is the lower Rhône valley – its vernacular name “coulas” means “necklace” while it is worn exclusively on the wrist. It is a jewel typical of rites of passage, since it is the prerogative of the bride who receives it as a dowry on her engagement or on her wedding day.
In the 1830s a change in the fashion of dress and adornment led to its erasure.
Fallen into disuse, it returned under the 2nd Empire, carried by the fashion of ostentatious jewelry then, under the 3rd Republic, carried by the identity movement of Félibrige (association which works for the purpose of safeguarding and promoting the language, culture and all that constitutes the identity of the langue d’oc countries).
The gold coulas depicted on the stamp was the personal jewel of Mme Frédéric Mistral, who obtained it in 1912 from a Mme Ménard-Dorian de Lunel and then bequeathed it to the Museon Arlaten in 1943. The quadrilobed medal slides on the ring. The decoration engraved on one side represents a dove above a basket of flowers, and on the other side, it represents quivers and arrows in a vegetal decoration.
Coral ear pendant (MuCEM):
Coral is dear to the Mediterranean world. Its origin, considered almost divine, has contributed to the expansion of coral jewelry throughout the Mediterranean basin, where they are given several symbols of protection. The red color, that of blood and of life, opposes all its force to the danger of death. The Corsicans nickname it the “blood of the sea” and lend it the power to ward off bad luck.
The coral for these loops comes from Marseille. They are said to have been created between 1838 and 1847 and are from the so-called “Napoleon III” period.
They are part of an adornment that testifies to the use, in an elitist piece of jewelry, of a material loaded with meanings by Mediterranean cultures and highly prized by the working classes. This buckle is made of a dormeuse part with a smooth coral pearl and a pendant part with two smooth coral pearls held by a gold rod and finished with 4 turquoises surrounding a rose cut diamond.