By Milica Stamenkovic
One of the world’s most valuable collections of jewelry which is dedicated to the saint of Naples has gone on show in an exceptional and unique exhibition. These jewels are treasure of San Gennaro and are so beautiful and breath taking that they “rival” Russian jewelry that was wore and owned by tzars. These extremely valuable pieces of jewelry had to be transported under armed guards to a museum in Rome,which was not an easy task.
Different pieces of jewelry such as statues, religious items and jewels in general were donated over several centuries to the patron saint of Naples, aforementioned San Gennaro. For a long time, this treasure was kept away from the public eye because of its mesmerizing beauty and incalculable value according to Emmanuele Emanuele, the head of the Rome Foundation organizing the exhibition.
Gennaro was the bishop of Naples and was martyred in the third century.
People believed his power to be protecting them from diseases, wars and natural disasters. In early sixteenth century, Naples was beset by disease, war and the frequent eruption of the Volcano Vesuvius. Neapolitans pledged to build a chapel to San Gennaro and safeguard the donated treasure, in return for the saints protection. In order for the city to be safe again kings, popes and emperors have all sent valuable tributes to the saint’s shrine; including the French emperor, Napoleon Bonaparte, who donated jewel-studded cross.
The exhibition of this marvelous treasure that was donated to the saint’s chapel includes: the bishop’s mitre which is decorated with 3,964 diamonds, rubies and emeralds. According to BBC News, it was made to crown a bust of the saint carried in procession in Naples on his annual feast day.
The thing that is very interesting about this collection is that the jewelry belongs to different time periods. From about 14-17th century and beyond. The piece that gained the most attention is the necklace of San Gennaro, which was created in 1679. There were quite a lot of replicas of particularly this amazing work of art, but yet it kept its status as one of the most exquisite items of jewelry in the world. Among the people who donated in the name of the saint,was the French emperor, Napoleon Bonaparte, who gifted a jewel- studded cross.
This outstanding Neapolitan collection of jewels consists of 21,610 masterpieces! If you are in Rome, go to the museum and take a look at this wonderful exhibition which is definitely once in a lifetime opportunity.