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The Story of Sisi

In the spring of 1884, the Empress Elisabeth of Austria-Hungary - who her father affectionately called “Sisi” - visited Amsterdam and Royal Coster Diamonds.

Sisi came to the Netherlands for her health. She stayed at the Doelenhotel in Amsterdam. But besides her rooms there, she also had temporary rooms in Zandvoort, because she loved the sea. Sisi officially suffered from sciatica and “nervous pains”. But her biographers assume that there was more to it. She was unhealthy skinny. Based on the symptoms of her ailments, they assumed hunger edema and anorexia nervosa. In Amsterdam, Sisi gets treatments from the legendary doctor Johan Georg Mezger. The doctor recommended her to take a lot of long walks and a regular paddling in the sea.

Retouched and signed photo from the patient album of Dr. Mezger Empress Sisi

Before the doctor successfully combated her rheumatism and gout, Sisi insisted on walking everywhere. Between her daily treatments, she made long walks on the beach and discovered the city of Amsterdam by foot. She often brought her daughter Marie Valerie. From her doctor’s appointment, the Empress walked to the Amsterdam Zoo Artis. She visited the Rijksmuseum and all the other Amsterdam highlights. One day she also visited Coster Diamonds.

The Empress’s High standards

It was a big honor to welcome the Empress at our premise. Everyone knew the Empress loved diamonds. But we also knew her standards were extremely high. For everything she needed, she would only approve the best of the best. She went to Amsterdam for the best doctor. Her personal hair stylist was the only one allowed to touch her hair. She would even go as far as taking the “best Austrian cow” with her on foreign trips for her daily glass of milk. High standards indeed.

Sisi and her diamonds

It may be no surprise Sisi’s diamonds also had to be of impeccable quality. After all, diamonds were one of her trademarks. This made her visit to us extra memorable and valuable.
Sisi was portrayed very often and in many ways. But the images with ‘diamond stars’ in her hair are the most famous ones. Nowadays, we call these hair diamonds ‘Sisi-Stars’. In the picture of the painting below, she wears 27 diamonds with a pearl in the center of every diamond star. The Viennese cour jeweler A.E. Köchert provided these diamonds.

Sisi starsThe Sisi-Stars were Empress Elisabeth’s trademark

Original research: Pauline Willemse

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