Order of Berthold I, Grand Cross Breast Star
Image courtesy of Bene Merenti GmbH
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An eight-pointed star constructed of silver gilt, gold, and enamels. The obverse bears a round central red enamelled medallion depicting Berthold I in armour with a flag and shield on horseback, encompassed by a gold pebbled ring and a broad white enamelled ring inscribed “GERECHTIGKEIT IST MACHT” (Justice is Might), surrounded by an additional gold pebbled ring. The reverse plain with a vertical pinback.
The Order of Berthold I was established on April 29, 1877 by Grand Duke Frederick I to mark the twenty-fifth anniversary of his accession, to be conferred as an additional class above the grand cross of the Order of the Zähringer Lion. On September 9, 1896, the day of Grand Duke Frederick’s seventieth birthday, the order became separate from the Order of the Zähringer Lion.
The order was then expanded into three classes: Grand Cross, Commander, and Knight. Originally, the Order of Berthold I had been established as an attempt to keep the people’s descent from the Dukes of Zähringen alive. However, with the separation in 1896, the order could be awarded to any individual regardless of status. The Order of Berthold I was awarded to individuals who served faithfully or as a special show of recognition and benevolence. Recipients of both the Order of Berthold I and the Order of the Zähringer Lion could wear both orders at the same time, but the last received order before the other.
In 1900, a Collar was added to the Order of Berthold I.
The awards were conferred within two divisions, the Civil Division and the Military Division. The Civil Division awards featured a surmounting crown, and the Military Division awards featured a surmounting crown and crossed swords. In the case of the Breast Star, the Civil Division Breast Stars do not feature a crown or swords, while the Military Division Breast Stars do feature crossed swords.
The Grand Cross Breast Star was conferred with diamonds once to recognize exceptional merit.
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