The top of the medal is set with five cushion-cut diamonds, below which three detachable parts are attached: the upper layer is set with a 10-carat cushion-cut diamond from the Golconda diamond mine in India, surrounded by a laurel wreath; the middle layer is set with a ruby simulating the "golden flame" (Oriflamme), the traditional symbol of the French royal family, with an 8.9-carat cushion-cut Sri Lankan sapphire in the center of the flame; The lower layer is the Golden Fleece, paved with diamonds on the front and exquisitely engraved in gold on the back.
Philip III wearing the necklace of the Order of the Golden Fleece
The Order of the Golden Fleece medallion is the totem of the members of the Order of the Golden Fleece, a Catholic order founded in 1430 by Philip III, Duke of Burgundy. Philip III had a great admiration for the illustrious Order of the Garter and believed that the institution of chivalry would effectively unite the nobility of the realm. To prepare Burgundy to face the turbulence of the Hundred Years' War between England and France, Philip III decided to follow the example of the Garters and create his own Order.
Jean-Baptiste Nolin, Jason Carrying Off the Golden Fleece, 1690-1725
After the dissolution of the Duchy of Burgundy, the Order of the Golden Fleece continued in the Habsburg Dynasty. With the separation of the Spanish Habsburg dynasty from the Austrian Habsburg dynasty, the Order of the Golden Fleece was divided into two branches, the Spanish and the Austrian, which continue to this day. The Spanish branch is currently led by King Felipe VI of Spain and the Austrian branch is led by Karl von Habsburg, patriarch of the Habsburg-Lorraine family.
In its nearly 600 years of existence, the Order of the Golden Fleece has had only about 1,200 knights, mainly members of European royalty and nobility, including Emperor Napoleon of France, Tsar Alexander I of Russia, and Queen Elizabeth II of England.
Louis Antoine, Duke of Angoulême, Dauphin of France
The Order of the Golden Fleece was awarded to Louis Antoine, Duke of Angoulême, Dauphin of France, whose personal coat of arms is emblazoned on the front of the Moroccan leather box that holds this Order. He was awarded the Order of the Golden Fleece in 1823 after he commanded the French army in the southern conquest of Spain and helped his cousin Ferdinand VII to restore royal power, becoming the sole ruler of Spain.