House Order of Fidelity, Grand Cross Breast Star (with diamonds and rubies)
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An eight-pointed star with a Maltese cross on the obverse centre of silver and diamonds. The arms of the cross are in red rubies and have ball finials at the points. The quadrants between the arms bear the crossed "C" monogram of Margrave Charles Wilhelm III in diamonds. The obverse centre bears the crossed "C" monogram of Margrave Charles Wilhelm III in diamonds, above is the inscription "FIDELITAS" and below are three mountains in enamel. Weighing 84.7 grams.
The House Order of Fidelity was donated by Margrave Charles Wilhelm III at the laying of the foundation stone of Karlsruhe Palace in 1715, before the establishment of Baden as a Grand Duchy. The order was conferred upon members of foreign royal families, foreign heads of state, and Ducal Princes and Princesses to recognize merit and engender loyalty.
Originally, it featured only one class. The number of members was not limited to a specific number, but the Margrave reserved appointments. Just five years after the establishment of the House Order of Fidelity, in 1720, a star was added to the order. In 1775, the statutes of the order were altered and only nine knights were appointed until 1802. In 1803, the order was separated into two classes - Grand Cross and Commander. A third class was formally donated in 1808, but was never issued. Again, in 1809, the order was made a single class order. In 1815, the first order in diamonds was awarded to Prince Klemens von Metternich.
In 1840, the 125th year of the foundation of the order, Grand Duke Leopold von Baden confirmed the statutes in that reigning princes of the grand ducal house were born knights of the order. However, the awarding of the order took place after the age of fourteen. Knights of the order were allowed to add the medal to their coat of arms. After the death of the recipient, the order had to be returned. Exceptions were made for crosses with diamonds as they were awarded as a personal gift from the Grand Duke. In 1871, the Duke donated a reduced cross for princesses of the grand ducal house.
With the abdication of the throne on November 22nd, 1918 the order was discontinued.
The first Grand Cross Breast Star was added as a grade to the Order in 1720 and it was embroidered. The Grand Cross Breast Star that was composed of metal was added to the Order in 1840. There is great variation in size and appearance of the Grand Cross Breast Star. These variations are largely based on the year they were produced and the manufacturer. There are versions of the Grand Cross Breast Stars that included rubies, diamonds, and other brilliants.
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