Kaiser Wilhelm II Imperial German Presentation Stickpin
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Gold, diamonds and emeralds. A personal gift of the Kaiser in the form of a stylised ‘W’ for Kaiser Wilhelm II, wrought as oak branches with 5 gold leaves set with 10 emeralds, and 3 acorns set with 3 diamonds, the whole beneath the Imperial Crown set with a red enamel in the cushion and with a single diamond at the apex of the imperial arches. 25mm x 15mm. Contained in its original maroon velvet box, the lid embossed with the Imperial crown in gilt and the case silk bearing the details of the court jeweller Johan Wagner of Berlin.
The oak tree is a symbol of German strength and unity that is reflected in the ancient Roman view of unconquered Germania as a land of impenetrable forests. The oak further recalls the destruction of three Roman legions at the Battle of Teutoborg Forest. It was here that the Roman commander Publius Quinctilius Varus committed suicide while others less fortunate had their skulls nailed to the trees by an alliance victorious German tribesmen. Sacred trees and groves were central to the ritual of pagan Germanic peoples. With the arrival of Christianity, Thor’s Oak was felled by St Boniface and used to build a church. German pagans chopped the head off the oak malefactor. The oak was rediscovered in the Renaissance as a symbol of the German empire. An epigram likened Charles V, solid and unconquerable, to the oak in his struggle against the Turk. 18th century German Romantics embraced oak legends in poetry that reflected nascent German nationalism that later took root under the Napoleonic occupation.