Antique French Notre Dame de Reims Jewelry Box
Antique French Notre Dame de Reims Jewelry Box
souvenir noun \sü-və-nir\ : something that serves as a reminder.
from the French, (se) souvenir to remember.
Lovingly collected from the markets of France, we are thrilled to share with you this exquisite Antique French Souvenir Jewelry Box. This magical box is wondrously special for sure; unique with its own journeyed story - serving as a lasting memory from a special place. Whether it evokes a certain memory or inspire your travels, we are confident this piece will delight in its final journey - to you.
Found at market outside of Paris, we are so pleased to present this exceptional Souvenir Jewelry Box from the French royal city of Reims. Lovingly made with thick, beveled glass and a gilt metal frame embellished with decorative flourishes, the interior of the box is lined in a gently faded silk fabric intended to safely hold the most precious, favored pieces of jewelry.
The glass lid of the box is adorned with a beautifully hand-colored image of one of France's most historic landmarks, the famed Reims cathedral. Having been heavily damaged during the First World War, this image of the beloved cathedral is labeled "avant guerre" (before the war). Embellishing the image of the cathedral are thin strips of lustrous mother-of-pearl, applied to give additional depth and a glimmering sheen.
Exquisite and oh-so rare, this lovely find will share all the beauty of Belle Époque France and lovingly hold your most treasured jewelry in timeless French fashion.
Strictly one-of-a-kind and subject to prior sale. Circa 1920. In good antique condition with signs of age especially to the fabric lining as shown in the alternate images. 2.25"H x 4.5"D.
Learn More About the Cathedral of Reims
The cathedral of Notre-Dame de Reims, France was built over a 100 year period in the 13th century. Another one hundred years added the French kings to the façade, reminding the public that at least 25 French kings were crowned within the walls of Reims Cathedral. Why Reims? Clovis, the king of the Franks, was baptized here by Bishop St. Remy around 498 A.D., making it sacred ground for royals, especially since French kings claimed their rule was ordained by God. Legend tells us that St. Remy received a vile of oil from a white dove. This holy oil anointed every French king up until Charles X in 1825.
Over the centuries, the Reims Cathedral saw many changes in the world, but none so devastating to itself than World War I. The cathedral was repeatedly shelled for over four years during the war. Eighty percent of the city of Reims disappeared between 1914 and 1918, as Germany relentlessly attacked France and tried to bring the country to her knees. The front line was just outside of Reims, and the cathedral was the largest target. Residents tried to protect the cathedral, placing sand bags at the base, which did help to protect the lower statues, but many of the magnificent features were lost. More than 300 shells fell on the cathedral during the war, melting away the iron roof and wooden interior.
Residents began to rebuild the cathedral in the 1920s. Arguments arose as to whether the cathedral should be rebuilt or if the ruins should serve as a reminder to what was lost - plus there wasn't sufficient funds to undertake rebuilding such a significant monument. The Rockefeller Foundation donated money to resurrect the cathedral, so reconstruction began. Many of the surviving church statues were placed in the adjacent Palace de Tau museum with copies replacing the originals in Reims Cathedral.
Some of the celebrated stain glass windows from the Notre-Dame de Reims were spared by a family of glass makers who removed the windows they could and meticulously took others apart piece by piece so they could hide them and protect them from the shelling of WWI. These 12th generation glass makers then helped to restore the original glass into the newly rebuilt cathedral and replaced windows that were destroyed beyond repair with replicas.
While World War I caused the most devastation to the city, Reims was again hit during World War II, but the Reims Cathedral stood proud over her city, taking on much less damage than she did in the first World War. On May 7, 1945 the allies signed the treaty to end WWII in Reims in the school room where General Eisenhower had set up his headquarters.
Reims Cathedral has seen princes, kings, queens and soldiers walk through her doors, sometimes proudly showing off her beauty, while other times praying for war to end. The walls continue to speak of what has happened throughout the city of Reims, the changes that have occurred in the city and society as a whole. Now she waits to see what will happen in the next one hundred years as man continues to evolve, and hopefully learn from the mistakes of the past that once brought the Reims Cathedral to her knees.
("The Tragic and Triumphant History of the Reims Cathedral" courtesy of Twist Travel Magazine)