Historic Papal Cross and Ring from Days of Epic Solemn Papal Liturgies

This historic hand-crafted cross and matching ring, exquisite works of art that were kept many years in the Treasury of the Vatican Basilica, were made from gemstones from the Vatican's own collection.  These items - blessed objects - were taken out and made generous use of on special occasion by the Roman Pontiffs for some of the most solemn of occasions.  The last pope to be seen wearing them was Pope John XXIII, seen below in a 1950's photo shoot.

These priceless treasures are currently available for purchase through a once in a lifetime sales event offered by M.S. Rau (Fine Art, Antiques, and Jewels, since 1912) located in New Orleans, Louisiana.  Please note: the price tag for the cross is $1 million dollars. The price of the ring is $520,000. The shimmering cross and ring are one of the most exceptional and significant jewelled creations that ever came out of the Vatican collection.  They exhibit a beautiful one-of-a-kind combination of some of the finest white diamonds ever seen in one religious piece.  The heavy cross glows with over 60 carats of diamonds along its length with several rare Columbian green emeralds inlaid and set in 18 carat yellow gold.  The cross alone has over 60 carats in gems with several significant Old European cut white diamonds, including an 8.66 carat, a 7.75 carat, four 5-6 carat stones and numerous 3 to 4 carat stones.  The outstanding clarity of the resplendent gems ranges from VVS to VS.

The ring is made of platinum with an approximately 13.5 carat diamond in its center, surrounded by a hallow of 14 shimmering white diamonds with additional diamonds and rubies forming a red cross along the side shanks.  At the bottom in silver is carved the familiar "Chi-Rho" of the Emperor Constantine from the Battle of the Milvian Bridge in Rome.  These religious and liturgical treasures bear the stamp of "Cassio," one of the Roman ateliers at the service of the Roman Pontiffs and are estimated to date from about the year 1900.     

These sacred objects of inestimable value were given by Pope Paul VI to the United Nations in 1965 with the intent that the Secretary-General would sell them and use the proceeds for the alleviation of human suffering.  The gesture gained quick points with the secular media at the time; then was soon forgotten.  The cross and ring have switched hands several times in the past over fifty years.  Evel Knievel, the American stunt entertainer, reputedly once owned them.  To many it is unconscionable that a Roman Pontiff would hand over blessed objects such as these to secular hands - it could only spell sacrilege.  Hopefully someone will rescue them - they belong in the family.  For more information and video see HERE

Meanwhile, around that same time (Vatican II), other bishops followed the Pope's example and began to replace their precious pectoral crosses and episcopal rings with more simple creations designed by cubists and abstract impressionists.  In retrospect it can be seen how the spirit of the age suffered an acute disorder, and infected the Church with a distinct disorientation and subsequent ugliness.  In an age so concerned with civil rights, people suddenly took for granted the rights of God.  Catholics give their best to God and they do not sell to the highest bidder.  It's not always about money...it is also about giving glory to God.  In the 1960's there was a curious ideology that infected the minds of many bishops and members of the Church, confusing simplicity with impoverishment and poverty with destitution.  We are still living with this type of ilk today.    

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