I am fascinated and honored to have acquired this precious bit of history. Let me tell you its story, a story that takes place at the end of an era in the dying embers of a bygone age.
August 4, 1907. The last Kaiser of Germany, Wilhelm II, and the last Russian Tsar, Nicholas II, met in the lavish Polish harbor town of Swinemünde for what would be called “the emperors’ meeting.” Wilhelm arrived on the white imperial yacht, Hohenzollern, escorted by the German fleet, while Nicholas arrived on the black “Kronstadt,’ the Standart, circled by Russian torpedo boats.
In honor of the gathering, Tsar Nicholas had this exquisite Fabergé platinum and diamond brooch made to be presented as a gift to the Kaiser – presumably for his wife, Princess Augusta Viktoria of Schleswig-Holstein.
The two spent the day on the Hohenzollern’s decks, enjoying festivities that culminated in fireworks that lit the summer night’s sky with huge letters of fire – W for Wilhelm and N for Nicholas. There is a poignancy here, belied by the brooch’s brilliance, for in a few short years, the stars of the two emperors would go as dark as the dying of fireworks. The peace between the two countries was fleeting. The brooch is timeless.