An inscription on the back cover plate of the 416-carat stone informs us that Emperor Leopold I (1640-1705) acquired the "VNschatzbare Kleynodt so HIACENT LABELLA genandt" ("incomparably precious stone called HYACINTH LA BELLA") from an aristocratic Hungarian family in 1687. On this occasion a richly enamelled double eagle with the imperial crown was added to the existing setting from the early 15th century, which tightly encloses the stone and consists of golden branches covered with white enamel. In its talons the double eagle is holding a sword and a sceptre with the coats of arms of Hungary and Bohemia, respectively. This acquisition was in fact a repurchase: the precious stone was first documented in the inventory of the estate of Emperor Matthias in 1619 and was later removed from the imperial treasure for reasons unknown today. The new, magnificent setting was probably an expression of the status of the gem in the Habsburg imperial treasury. The precious setting emphasises both the material and non-material value of the stone, which became a special show-piece of the treasury. The exceptional size and beauty of such precious stones were the focus of attention. This is also illustrated by several other pieces preserved in the Secular Treasury, such as a large, teardrop-shaped hair amethyst (Inv. No. SK_WS_XIa_53) from the estate of Emperor Leopold I, a milk opal (Inv. No. KK_1825) documented in the inventory of Emperor Rudolph II in 1607/11, and a highly faceted, 492-carat aquamarine (Inv. No. KK_1911); around 1800 it was swivel-mounted, making it possible to turn the stone.
Frankreich (?) (Fassung d. Steines) und Wien
frühes 15. Jahrhundert (Fassung des Steines); 1687
Granat bzw. Almandin, Fassung: Gold, Silber, vergoldet, Email
H. 6,8 cm, B. 3,9 cm
Fassung: H. 19,9 cm, B. 15,8
"Hiacent - La Bella"; "ANNO 1687 Hat Leopoldus der Erste Romischer Kayser dieses VNschatzbare Kleynodt so HIACENT LABELLA genandt vnd 416 CARAT wiegt von der HVMANAYIschen FAMILIA auß Hungarn erkaufft vnd in Dero Kayserliche SchatzCamer gelegt"
Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien, Weltliche Schatzkammer
Schatzkammer, WS XIa 51