Order of the Swan, Collar (1440 version)
Image courtesy of B. Burke, "Orders of Knighthood and Decorations of Honour of All Nations"
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In 1440, Elector Frederick II of Brandenburg founded the Order of the Swan as a religious association made up of princes, as well as noble men and women.
The order originally included thirty men and seven women who united to honour the Virgin Mary.
Along with encouraging the worship of the Virgin, the association also sought to ease the suffering of the unfortunate through acts of charity. The chain, which was the symbol of belonging, was to be worn daily.
The order was abolished during the Protestant Reformation, but was later revived in 1843 by Frederick William IV of Prussia. The renewed association was open to all men and women, and sought to remedy physical and moral ills. An evangelical motherhouse was to be built in Berlin, and the insignia was altered.
In rare cases, a gold chain would be provided as a gift, however, a small insignia next to the chain would present the affiliation. The king and queen were grandmasters of the order.
The motto for the order is “GOD WITH US”, while the inscription translates to “Hail, Mistress of the World”.
The 1843 Collar was made on Christmas Eve, 1843, most likely by Jean George Hossauer, Berlin.
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