A research project on the materiality, technology and state of preservation of the Imperial Crown in Vienna.

Its legendary association with Charlemagne (r. 768-814) ensured both that the Imperial Crown now in Vienna was venerated as a sacred relic of this canonized ruler and its status as an insignia of the Holy Roman Empire (of the German Nation). The crown remained in use until the last coronation in 1792, embedding itself in our collective memory as one of the most important and evocative symbols of European history.

This continued use directly relates to its survival. Today, it is the only one of numerous crowns owned and used by kings and emperors in the Middle Ages to have survived. 

At the same time, this use has resulted in numerous losses, additions, damages and repairs. The aging of the material and unfavourable environmental conditions also set in motion processes of change that deeply impacted the crown’s present-day condition and appearance.

Comprehensive material-science and conservation examinations are needed to better understand these processes, their origins and effects, and to devise the best possible protection/conservation procedures for the crown.

These examinations are the focus of this research project and have started on 1 January 2022. They are scheduled to run until 31 December 2024. For the very first time, this interdisciplinary project will comprehensively analyse and document material compositions, techniques, interventions and alterations. Examination results of selected comparative examples, which will also be analysed, will be used to further interpret these findings. 
The systematic collection of textual and visual sources will expand our knowledge of the artefact’s “fate”, especially for the period after 1500. This should also help us to identify approaches to understand better early-modern interventions and alterations. 

We will also examine all the inscriptions on the crown. By discussing findings from technological and epigrammatic examinations side-by-side for the first time, the project team hopes to provide new insights into questions of dating especially.

Who makes this project possible?

In the first place, we would like to thank the Ernst von Siemens Kunststiftung and the Rudolf August Oetker-Stiftung for their generous support, which allowed us to initiate the project and begin work in 2022. 

Additional financial means have been provided by the Austrian Ministry for the Arts and Culture (Bundesministerium for Kunst, Kultur, öffentlicher Dienst und Sport) and the Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW), as part of its DOC Fellowship Programme.

We would like to cordially thank these institutions as well as the numerous individual donors who have crowdfunded the project.

Several institutions and collections have offered their support by making artefacts in their holdings available for comparative examination. Others have kindly agreed to share findings of their own research and discuss them with us. Such support by the wider museal and scholarly community is of central importance to the project’s efforts and its success. The following institutions have our sincere gratitude for their collaboration:


  • Berlin, Rathgen-Forschungslabor, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Dr. Stefan Röhrs, Dr. Cristina Aibéo
  • Essen, Domschatz Essen, Andrea Wegener MA
  • Köln, Erzbistum Köln, Dr. Anna Pawlik
  • Köln, Kath. Kirchengemeinde St. Severin, Dr. Joachim Oepen
  • München, Bayerisches Nationalmuseum, GD Dr. Frank Matthias Kammel, Dipl.-Rest. Joachim Kreutner, Dipl.-Rest. Hans-Jörg Ranz, Dr. Matthias Weniger
  • München, Schatzkammer der Residenz München, Dr. Christian Quaeitzsch, Dipl.-Rest. Jonas Jückstock
  • München Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Institut für Bestandserhaltung und Restaurierung (IBR), Dr. Irmhild Ceynowa, Dr. Thorsten Allscher
  • Nürnberg, Staatsarchiv Nürnberg, Dr. Daniel Burger
  • Paris, Musée du Louvre, Département des objets d’art, Florian Meunier
  • Paris, Centre de recherche et de restauration des musées de France (C2RMF), Marie Godet, Ina Reiche
  • Ulm, WITec Wissenschaftliche Instrumente und Technologie GmbH, Dr. Miriam Boehmler, Dr. Thomas Olschewski
  • Wien, Institut für Mineralogie und Kristallographie der Universität Wien, Prof. Dr. Lutz Nasdala

In addition, the Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna would like to thank all donors who have so generously supported the research project on the Imperial Crown.

Research Questions & Approaches

Our inter-disciplinary approach, the collaboration of historical and art-historical experts, conservators and scientists means a variety of methods and approaches will be employed.

The project adopts a decidedly inter-disciplinary approach made possible by the collaboration of historical and art-historical experts, conservators and scientists. They each contribute a variety of specialist expertise and investigation methods.

Through the continuous exchange with and feedback from international experts we seek to verify, expand and, if necessary, adapt on our pre-defined set of examination methods. Due to our commitment of only using non-invasive methods, we have excluded some apparently obvious procedures that do not fit these criteria. Computer tomography (CT), for instance, may discolour gemstones due to its use of high radiation energy.

Material Analysis

  • Material Compositions
  • Corrosion Phenomena

Examination of the Gemstones using Raman Spectroscopy

In the course of a two-week campaign to perform Raman investigations in May 2022, we systematically analysed all the gemstones adorning the imperial crown for the first time. This was undertaken in collaboration with the Institute of Mineralogy and Crystallography of the University of Vienna. Until then, all the information we had for the 172 gemstones on circlet, cross and arch were handwritten notes from 1977 recording the optical classification of some of them.

WITec Wissenschaftliche Instrumente und Technologie GmbH, a private company specializing in scientific instruments, provided us with a specially-adapted Raman spectrometer that allowed us to measure both Raman and photo-luminescence spectra. Thanks to many years of experience in determining Raman in gemstones, Professor Dr Lutz Nasdala was able to identify all the stones on the crown directly while performing the measurements.

Today, the Imperial Crown is embellished with a total of 71 sapphires, 50 garnets, 20 emeralds, 13 amethysts, four chalcedonies, three spinels, and eleven differently coloured pieces of glass. Further examinations to identify the stones in more detail are planned within the course of the project. For instance, we aim to classify different types of garnets, determine special inclusion phases, and obtain information on the origins or provenance of individual stones. We will continue to only use non-destructive examination methods such as X-ray fluorescence analysis.

Martina Griesser, 4.9.2022

X-Ray Fluorescence Analysis of the Niello Decoration on the Imperial Crown’s Central Cross

On the reverse of the Imperial Crown’s central cross, niello was melted into the engravings of Christ on the Cross and the accompanying inscriptions, delineating them more clearly against the gold background. Niello is a black-coloured mixture of sulphur and other metals. Early medieval sources report recipes containing the sulphides of silver, copper and lead as main components in various compositions.

Art historical research has repeatedly linked the central cross’s image of Christ with niello decorations on the reverse of the so-called Imperial Cross (Secular Treasury, Inv. WS XIII 21).  This examination thus aimed to determine whether such a connection could be confirmed with regard to the chemical composition of the respective niello decorations using energy-dispersive X-ray fluorescence analysis (XRF). We used a portable device (PART II) that was developed and built at the KHM in the course of a previous research project ("Portable Art Analyzer - PART", project no. L430-N19, funded by the FWF). It allows focusing on the niello’s very fine lines due to its measuring spot of about 150µm.

The results of this analysis show that the niello masses of the crown’s central cross are composed of silver-, copper- and lead-sulphides as well as possibly a small trace of gold, which could come from the silver. In contrast, the niello on the Imperial Cross consists only of silver- and copper-sulphides. Only traces of lead and gold are detectable here, probably due to material impurities. At least from the perspective of the material sciences, such different formulations do not immediately corroborate a direct workshop connection between the two works.

In the further course of the project, we will continue to evaluate this data, qualifying and contextualising it with literature on the making and composition of niello in the Early and High Middle Ages. Moreover, the close examination of the goldsmith’s technique and tool marks on the crown`s central cross, made possible at an unprecedented level by the use of 3D-digital microscopy, might also provide further insight.

Katharina Uhlir, Teresa Lamers (October 18, 2022)


Examination of enamels, gemstones and pearls as well as gold by means of µ-X-ray fluorescence analysis (µ-XRF)

The portable X-ray fluorescence device PART II, already used for the analysis of niello [link: Material Analysis / Analysis of the Niello Decoration], was used in spring 2023 to investigate the chemical composition of gemstones, pearls and enamels of the Imperial Crown as well as the gold composition due to its small measuring spot of only about 150 µm. Of particular importance for enamel analysis is that the measuring head of this instrument can be evacuated. This allows the detection of light elements with low atomic numbers - such as sodium (Na), magnesium (Mg) and aluminium (Al) - which are essential for the determination of enamel composition. At the same time, however, the small working distance of only 1 mm is often a hindrance due to the strongly three-dimensional structure of the imperial crown, and therefore not all details to be investigated are always accessible with this device. Despite this limitation, it was possible to carry out a large number of analyses, in the interpretation of which it was possible to include preliminary investigations that had already been carried out in 2014, as they formed a valuable basis for the further investigations.

In addition to areas representative of the different coloured enamels, areas attacked by corrosion or those with unclear characteristics were also analysed. Overall, the following observations were made, although the complete evaluations will still take some time:

  • Most enamel colours (green, light blue, dark blue, turquoise blue and brown-red) are of the soda-lime type. The incarnate and the yellow enamel are basically also of the soda-lime glass type, but in contrast to the aforementioned colours, they have clear additions of lead oxide (PbO). The enamel of the potassium glass type includes black and brick-red enamel. The K2O content of these glasses is approx. 10 and 16 percent by weight respectively. The CaO content (stabiliser in the glass) is very high and lies at 12-15 percent by weight. Nevertheless, the black enamel proves to be very unstable and shows the most conspicuous signs of corrosion. Initial analyses of the corrosion products with the scanning electron microscope (SEM) showed the presence of calcium, sodium, potassium and lead compounds (chlorides and probably carbonates or salts of organic acids). Further investigations into corrosion and its cause using µ-raman spectroscopy and SEM are planned. For enamelling technology, it is of interest here that potash glasses have a higher melting point than soda-lime glasses.
  • For the pearls at the crown and cross and the large pearls of the bow, a differentiation between freshwater and saltwater pearls can be made well with XRF by comparison to reference materials based on characteristic detected elements and their relationship to each other.
    [link: Material Analysis / Examination of the pearls].
  • The investigation of the gold compositions was unfortunately limited by the severely restricted accessibility to the areas of interest. Nevertheless, it will be attempted to make comparisons of the individual gold alloys as far as possible and to determine technological correlations between different structural elements and alloy compositions. The comprehensive evaluations required for this are currently still in progress.
  • An imitation gemstone examined on the temple shows a high barium content. Glasses of this type were first produced in the early 19th century, so the XRF analysis greatly limits the time span for the replacement of the original stone with the imitation at this point.
  • The gemstones accessible for analysis were also examined in order to obtain further clues as to their exact classification and provenance or to substantiate assumptions in this regard.

For a comprehensive interpretation of pearls, gemstones and enamels, further investigations with various spectroscopic and photographic methods are planned.

Katharina Uhlir, Martina Griesser (24.7.2023)

Katharina Uhlir, Conservation Science Department of the KHM, scanning an enamel plate with the macro-XRF scanner CRONO (May 2023). © Hubert Doppler / EPO-Film

Further material analyses using the macro-XRF scanner CRONO

The Kunsthistorisches Museum’s Conservation Science Department owns a Bruker CRONO macro-XRF scanner. A macro-X-ray fluorescence scanner (MA-XRF) carefully maps larger surface areas ‘pixel by pixel’ (max. 60 x 45 cm), taking an X-ray fluorescence spectrum for each data point. Together these spectra reveal key compositional information, including, for instance, the distribution of copper on the analyzed surface – on the enamel plates of the Imperial Crown it is present in blue, turquoise, green and red enamels.

In addition, the Bruker CRONO allows us to perform individual measurements at selected data points, similar to the PART II system described earlier [link: Material Analysis / Examination by means of µ-X-ray fluorescence analysis]. The collimator options are 0.5 mm, 1 mm, and 2 mm diameter, providing elemental data from a much larger data-point than that using a µ-XRF. Compared to the µ-XRF system PART II, the CRONO scanner can take measurements from a greater distance (1 cm), facilitating the mapping of data points on three-dimensional objects. At the same time, however, aerial absorption of signals from elements with a low atomic number (esp. sodium, magnesium, phosphorus, and aluminum) is especially problematic when analyzing enamel.

In May and June 2023, the following analyses were carried out, but their comprehensive interpretation will require some time:

  • mapping of the enamel pates: despite the enamel plates’ convex shape, the distribution of the characteristic elements responsible for color in the different enamels is clearly represented; we were able to document the distribution of a not-yet-identified dark leaded substance
  • small areas of the cross were scanned in order to define the individual zones of the different metal alloys at the solder joints. A scan of the niello decoration revealed inhomogeneities and varying thicknesses of the different layers
  • high-resolution scans of both sides of the arch were an attempt to determine whether the countless tiny pearls are freshwater or saltwater pearls; however, the procedure proved unsuitable
  • in addition to our earlier analyses using the PART II system, some of the gold areas were analyzed using the CRONO’s point measurement mode. Despite the much-improved access to several data points, a number of interesting points could still not be investigated regardless of the increased distance between the XRF system and object
  • the metal components of the case were analyzed to determine the comparability of its individual parts
  • as preparation for comparative measurements of objects in Germany (Cologne, Essen, Munich) point measurements of the enamel on the Imperial Crown were carried out using parameters determined in collaboration with the Rathgen-Forschungslabor, in order to optimize the comparability of results of investigations undertaken with different measuring devices (CRONO MA-XRF scanner in Vienna, and ELIO scanner in Germany)

Katharina Uhlir, Martina Griesser (24 July 2023)

Chemical-analytical investigations: Possibilities and limits from a conservation science perspective

The second research campaign (9 January - 23 June 2023) focused on analysing the chemical composition of the different materials that make up the Imperial Crown. Precise knowledge of the chemical composition is an essential basis of conservation science research. It enables conclusions to be drawn about specific material properties and about ageing and corrosion processes. Likewise, the results of analyses can provide clues to the origin (as in the case of precious stones) or be used to determine the species (as in the case of pearls).
[link: Material Analysis / Examination of the pearls]

However, the analysis possibilities are limited by the mandatory requirement of non-destruction (no sampling) and mobility (equipment must be transported to the crown - not vice versa). The three-dimensional structure, especially of the gold surfaces, is a further, strongly limiting factor in the investigations. The relatively large measuring heads of the analysers have to be brought very close to the surface. This is only possible at isolated points on the crown, which limits a complete and systematic examination of the gold alloys from the outset. The enamels, with their only slightly curved flat surfaces, offer better measuring conditions.

By using different, complementary optical and material-analytical examination methods, we are trying to obtain as broad a spectrum of information as possible in order to deepen our knowledge of the materiality, the state of preservation and the complex corrosion processes.

Within the project, the enamels of the Imperial Crown represent a main topic of conservation science. Enamel is not a stable system. It is particularly subject to chemical or physical processes that take place on a micromolecular level within the enamel layers and become visible over time as signs of decay. Changes in appearance in the form of white, crystalline efflorescence were also observed on the sinking enamels of the Imperial Crown. A particular feature of the enamels of the Imperial Crown is the strong inhomogeneity of individual colours as well as the enforcement of the surfaces with a multitude of semicircular holes that were created during the manufacturing process (trapped gas bubbles that migrated to the surface during the melting of the enamel in the kiln). Point measurements cannot adequately characterise the chemical composition in this case. However, with the macro X-ray fluorescence scanner it is possible to record spectra from the entire surface, map and display the elemental distribution.
[link: Material Analyses / Further material analyses using the macro-XRF scanner CRONO]

The great challenge for conservation science will be to interpret the results obtained from the measurement data to understand what they mean for the corrosion processes, what conservation measures need to be taken and what consequences need to be drawn in terms of optimising the storage conditions to ensure the long-term preservation of the crown.

Helene Hanzer (20. 7. 2023)

Examination of the pearls

Today, circlet, arch and cross are decorated with a total of 233 pearls. In addition, there are about 600 smaller pearls arranged to form the letters on the arch. Pearls - also classified as organic gemstones - are a material that, like mother-of-pearl, is produced within certain types of molluscs by biomineralization processes. Thin layers of calcium carbonate crystals (aragonite, calcite or vaterite) are built up over an organic cell nucleus, creating a characteristic terrace-like structure that is responsible for the special lustre effects of pearls. Dr. Stefanos Karampelas from the Laboratoire Français de Gemmologie (LFG) Paris, an internationally renowned expert, kindly agreed to examine the pearls on the Imperial Crown.

The research project aims to describe each pearl and determine whether it is a saltwater or a freshwater pearl. This is made possible by material analytical investigations using X-ray fluorescence analysis (µ-XRF, device: PART II). The main difference in the chemical composition of saltwater and freshwater pearls is the ratio between strontium and manganese. Other characteristics are size, shape and lustre.

Initial results show that the majority of pearls used on the crown are saltwater pearls. In classical antiquity and the Middle Ages, they mainly originated in the Persian Gulf and came to Europe via various trade routes. Some of the pearls on the Imperial Crown are exceptionally large (circa 8-12 mm); they are among the largest specimens known in Europe before the discovery of America, and must have been extremely rare and costly.

Unlike gemstones, pearls are delicate and easily damaged, fractured or affected by other aging processes. Many of the pearls were (re-)attached with wires during later repair work on the settings. We may therefore assume that not all the extant pearls can be traced back to the time the crown was created. Based on the findings of optical examinations, we hope to determine which pearls are original and which are later replacements.

Teresa Lamers (24 July 2023)

Art Historical & Historical Research

  • Pictorial Sources
  • Formal and Stylistic Aspects
  • Inscriptions on the Imperial Crown
  • Textual Sources

Analysis of the Inscriptions on the Imperial Crown

The inscriptions on the enamel plates of the Imperial Crown have recently attracted increased attention from historians. In connection with certain letter shapes on the enamel plates, they argued that the crown could not have been created before the late 11th century. As a result, the CHVONRADVS named on the arch is said to have been King Conrad III (r. 1138-1152), who is subsequently also identified as the crown’s commissioner. The suggested dating is very different from that found in art historical scholarship.

Within the framework of this project, all inscriptions on the crown will be examined together with exact technological observations for the first time and the findings discussed in a direct interdisciplinary exchange.

The crown has a total of ten inscriptions. They are fashioned in four different techniques and placed across seven different components of the crown: we find both cloisonné and champlevé enamel on the four plates of the circlet, niello on the back of the central cross and, in a technically unusual form, another inscription is formed by the small threaded pearls on both sides of the arch. We aim to examine epigraphically significant aspects of these inscriptions from all angles, both in terms of their respective characteristics as graphism on the one hand and as text on the other. With regard to the graphic execution, it is not only about the style of the writing (palaeography) and its historical classification, but also about its semantic implications. The latter also concerns the arrangement of the writing and conventions of its relation to pictorial depictions. In the case of the texts, we are focusing on linguistic and orthographic circumstances as well as questions of intertextuality (relationship to other texts).

Because of this, knowledge of relevant written sources and their respective reception history is also of great importance. For instance, the texts of the banderols on the enamel panels have repeatedly been associated with the Imperial coronation liturgy in scholarly literature. Central objectives of the present analysis surrounding the inscriptions are the chronological and geographical classification of the crown and its components, combined with an effort to gain a deeper understanding of its semantic significance.

Clemens M. M. Bayer (November 23, 2022)

Research on pictorial sources

What significance might arise from historical representations of the Imperial Crown in the context of the project’s objectives? This is the central question guiding the research into the pictorial sources for this project. So far, the literature has focused primarily on identifying medieval representations of the crown. Often these pictorial sources were used to historically contextualise the shape and individual design elements of the Imperial Crown.

However, none of these images can be established with complete certainty as a representation of the Viennese crown for the period before 1500. This led to exceedingly controversial discussions of these examples in the literature. Even if a compilation of these representations hardly promises new insights for the concrete questions of the project, their systematic documentation is nevertheless planned.

Likely made as a preparatory study for his idealised portrait of Charlemagne, Albrecht Duerer’s famous drawing of the Imperial Crown (after 1510), provides a turning point in the way that the crown’s objecthood and materiality are represented. Taking into account this new approach towards more naturalistic representations in the visual arts in general, we decided to focus our research on images from the period after 1500, recording and evaluating as much material as possible. Since May 2022, around 16,000 entries in national and international image databases have been systematically searched and assessed. Based on these efforts, about 550 entries have so far been created in an internal CROWN database.

A detailed evaluation of these entries is still pending. However, one finding we can already ascertain is that while the Imperial Crown was frequently depicted after Dürer, this was rarely done in such detail that a concrete preservation state of the object could be deduced from the images. Notable exceptions like the engravings by Johann Adam Delsenbach published in 1790, the illustrations from a magnificent work by Franz Bock commissioned by Emperor Franz Joseph I and photographic prints from the early 20th century in the holdings of the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, however, indeed promise new results for the questions of the project.

Evelyn Klammer (November 18, 2022)

Research on textual sources

In addition to the systematic collection of pictorial sources, we also aim to collate written historical accounts of the Imperial Crown. This will form a foundational pillar for an interwoven understanding of the object’s material history and, ideally, allow us to trace its present condition back through time. Written sources from the time the crown was deposited in Nuremberg (1424-1796) have never been systematically sifted and evaluated in relation to the crown’s present appearance and object history. An initial survey reveals that they provide valuable insight into historical repairs and interventions.
In contrast, the collection of written sources from the time before 1400, suggests hardly any new insights in this respect. This material has already been researched and debated many times. Nevertheless, we are preparing a carefully curated catalogue of these sources. Our aim is to provide a solid foundation and comprehensive account for further discussions of the crown’s fates in the Middle Ages.


    These entries will adopt the following structure:

    • A "header" with basic information (author, period, etc.);
    • Some contextualising information of the relevant passage;
    • Text excerpt (not too narrowly defined);
    • Translation (as precise as possible);
    • Short commentary on the development of linguistic and contextual problems (only as much as necessary);
    • Most relevant cross-references of the passage in secondary literature.

    Clemens M. M. Bayer, Franz Kirchweger (November 23, 2022)

    Analysis of early-modern sources in the Staatsarchiv Nuremberg

    A number of references in Karl-Engelhardt Klaar’s essay on the ‘Sicherung und Pflege der Reichskleinodien in Nürnberg’ (in: Nürnberg – Kaiser und Reich, exhibition organized by the Staatsarchiv Nuremberg, Nuremberg 1986, pp. 71-82) suggested a review of early modern archival material in the Staatsarchiv Nuremberg that was likely to contain information on the use, safeguarding and maintenance/repair of the Imperial Crown and the other artefacts comprising the imperial insignia. With the help of Archivoberrat Dr Daniel Burger, we were able to examine and record the material at Nuremberg in February 2023.

    Next, Pia Metschitzer (a historian working in the KHM Archive) began to produce transcripts for our project. The sources edited so far include very interesting remarks documenting both extant and missing parts of the stone- and pearl decoration, and repairs. We have notes dating from 1521, 1612, 1619 and 1630 respectively that document audits of the crown’s components. In 1619, the audit seems to have been carried out following the coronation of Emperor Matthias I and his consort, Anne, and Hans Beutmüller (died 1622), a goldsmith first recorded in Nuremberg in 1588, was asked to evaluate the crown. Beutmüller’s appraisal includes two straightforward drawings (presumably also by him) that document the positions of the different stones decorating the various parts of the crown at that date.

    Also important are receipts for payments for individual repairs carried out on the Imperial Crown in the seventeenth and eighteenth century; most, however, do not dwell in detail on the actual work and can therefore not be connected to specific interventions, but they prove that such repairs were carried out.

    Franz Kirchweger (28 Sept. 2023)

    Antique engraved gem featuring a harbour scene on the front plate, rotation video recorded using a 3-D digital microscope
    Antique engraved gem with half-length depiction of a maenad on the back plate, rotational video recorded with the aid of the 3-D digital microscope

    Two newly discovered ancient engraved gems

    In the course of our comprehensive examination of the Imperial Crown using 3-D digital microscopy [link: Technological Research / Investigation using 3D digital microscopy], we were able to photograph two previously unknown ancient intaglios included in the stone decoration. The obverses of the two engraved gems face inwards, which is why they are not visible from the outside under normal conditions.

    The amethyst positioned in the lower row of the front plate (A) on the left shows a harbour scene with ships; the engraved gem set in the lower row of the back plate (E) depicts a half-length maenad holding a theatre mask. The examination was carried out by Prof Erika Zwierlein-Diehl of the University of Bonn, a leading international expert on ancient glyptic art and its afterlife who has published numerous works on the ancient gems and cameos in the Kunsthistorisches Museum.

    According to her preliminary research, the intaglio featuring a maenad is the earliest and most beautiful version of a type of which only a few examples have come down to us. It is the work of a Greek master active in the middle or third quarter of the first century B.C, i.e. during the transition from the late Hellenistic style to Augustan classicism. The gem showing a harbour scene was executed in the so-called miniature style and produced sometime between the end of the first century B.C. and the first century A.D. It is the most detailed example of the twelve extant cameos featuring harbour scenes.

    Franz Kirchweger (28 Sept. 2023)

    Technological Research

    • Goldsmithing Techniques
    • History of Restorations
    • State of Preservation

    3D Digital Microscopy

    Spinel on the front plate with perforation from both sides, 3D-digital microscope, rotation video-image, 20x magnification
    Spinel on the front plate with inclusions, 3D-digital microscope, rotation video-image, 20x magnification

    The systematic optical assessment and photographic documentation of the Imperial Crown is a central objective of this research project. This will enable us to understand the crown’s technological construction, materiality and state of preservation at an unprecedented level of quality and detail. We use a 3D digital microscope (HIROX HRX-01) to comprehensively examine the crown as well as some other relevant objects of close comparison. This allows us to record the object’s surface morphology and measurements of individual construction parts and decorative elements in a wide range of magnification (10x -2500x). Moreover, we can create 3D- and panoramic views of important areas in high resolution and with high depth of field.

    During our first investigation campaign (March to July 2022), we focused on the technological examination of the goldsmith's work and gemstone settings. In preparation for Raman measurements, 172 gemstones were examined microscopically and photographed in reflected as well as polarised light. In a next step, we recorded characteristic inclusions in the crown’s gemstones and then photographed these in different light settings with the 3D microscope. During this campaign, we also individually examined a total of 824 formal and functional components of the goldsmith's work (gemstone and pearl settings, decorative elements, as well as hinges, sleeves and tubes) and photographed them from different angles.

    We typified indicators of interventions (repair wires and soldering, addition of stabilising materials, modifications, hole drilling, rivets) to link them to historical damage and even identifiable reworking events.

    As the crown ring is fixed in its octagon position, taking distortion-free images of the individual plates’ backside presented a particular challenge.

    For this purpose, we constructed a custom table with an octagonal opening. We also extended the 3D microscope by a FlexArm, so that the lens could be manoeuvred into the crown’s inside from below. Following this initial campaign, for the first time, we now have distortion-free scans of the Imperial Crown in its entirety. This includes high-resolution images (30x magnification) of all plates of the coronet (front, back, upper edge, lower edge), of the arch (both sides, upper edge, lower edge), of the central cross (front, back) as well as the enamel plates (here also at 90x magnification in incident light and grazing light).

    Helene Hanzer, Teresa Lamers,
    Herbert Reitschuler, Sabine Stanek (November 28, 2022)

    Technical drawings

    The main focus of the investigations into the manufacturing technique is on the techniques used, the constructive details and the formal characteristics of the individual components of the crown. The observations and findings gained from the optical examinations and photographic documentation are continuously elaborated in writing and recorded in the CROWN database. In addition, Herbert Reitschuler produces technical drawings of various kinds. These include exploded views of the construction of the individual types of stone and pearl settings, which make it possible to illustrate the complex construction and function of the components. As an example, a drawing of the type "high mount for stones with three-fingered claws" is shown here and contrasted with a photograph. All settings of this type for the large stones on the crown‘s circlet follow the same construction principle, which was individually adapted to the respective size and shape of the stone.

    Helene Hanzer (4. 10. 2023)

    Who are our partners?

    The KHM project team brings together art historians, conservators and scientists benefiting from their expertise, know-how and respective approaches to develop a collaborative and interdisciplinary research platform. 

    Moreover, we plan to discuss and debate preparation, implementation and findings with international experts from relevant specialized fields, to share experiences and discuss methods and aims.

    For the purpose of analysing the crown’s inscriptions we will collaborate with Clemens M.M. Bayer (Bonn/Liège), a recognised specialist in epigraphy.

    Numerous specialists and colleagues have already kindly agreed to support the project by discussing and sharing ideas. The following colleagues have our sincere gratitude for their support:

    Conservation Sciences

    • Helene Hanzer
    • Teresa Lamers
    • Herbert Reitschuler


    • Martina Griesser
    • Sabine Stanek
    • Katharina Uhlir

    Art History

    • Franz Kirchweger
    • Evelyn Klammer
    • Pia Metschitzer

    Organizational support: Dominik Cobanoglu, Doris Prlic, Julia Spitaler, Stella Wisgrill

    External Experts

    • Maurizio ACETO,
      Dept . Scienze e Innovazione Tecnologica , Università degli Studi del Piemonte Orientale "Amedeo Avogadro", Alessandria
    • Cristina AIBÉO,
      Rathgen-Forschungslabor, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin – Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz
    • Thorsten ALLSCHER,
      Institut für Bestandserhaltung und Restaurierung, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, München
    • Clemens M. M. BAYER,
    • Klaus Gereon BEUCKERS,
      Kunsthistorisches Institut der Christian-Albrechts-Universität, Kiel
    • Harals DRÖS,
      Heidelberger Akademie der Wissenschaften, Heidelberg
    • Birgitta FALK,
      Domschatzkammer, Aachen
    • Andrea FISCHER,
      Staatliche Akademie der Bildenden Künste, Stuttgart
    • Monica GALEOTTI,
      Opificio delle Pietre Dure e Laboratori di Restauro
    • H. Albert GILG,
      Lehrstuhl für Ingenieurgeologie, Technische Universität München
    • Matthias HEINZEL,
      Leibniz Zentrum für Archäologie (LEIZA) (bis 31.12.2022: Römisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum RGZM)
    • Stefanos KARAMPELAS, 
      Laboratoire Français de Gemmologie, Paris
    • Ludger KÖRNTGEN,
      Historisches Seminar, Arbeitsbereich Mittelalterliche Geschichte, Johannes-Gutenberg-Universität, Mainz
    • Lothar LAMBACHER,
      Kunstgewerbemuseum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin - Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz
    • Werner MALECZEK,
      Institut für österreichische Geschichtsforschung, Universität Wien
    • Lutz NASDALA,
      Institut für Mineralogie und Kristallographie der Universität Wien
    • Michael PETER,
      Abegg-Stiftung, Riggisberg
    • Martina PIPPAL,
      Kunsthistorisches Institut, Universität Wien
    • Ina REICHE,
      Institut de recherche de Chimie Paris (IRCP) und Centre de recherche et de restauration des musées de France (C2RMF), Paris
    • Stefan RÖHRS,
      Rathgen-Forschungslabor, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, - Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz
    • Romedio SCHMITZ-ESSER,
      Historisches Seminar, Universität Heidelberg
      Heidelberger Akademie der Wissenschaften, Heidelberg
    • Sebastian SCHOLZ,
      Historisches Seminar, Universität Zürich
    • Andreas ZAJIC,
      Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Wien
      Klassische Archäologie, Universität Bonn

    What else are we working on?

    This website hopes to reach a wider audience, reporting on questions, methods, ideas and initial findings connected with the ongoing project. It will be updated at irregular intervals until the end of 2024.

    Here we report on activities regarding content and organization that keep the CROWN team busy, in addition to the various ongoing technological examinations.

    The former include lectures and publications, and the analysis of the extensive data generated by our examinations in order to make this information available online once the project has concluded; we are also shooting a film that documents the work of the CROWN team at various phases of the project.

    On 30 January 2023, the Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna held a press conference on the project that was widely covered in the media. For press releases click here.

    Vorträge & Workshops

    • Christopher Pollin, Martina Scholger, Elisabeth Steiner et al, poster presentation ‘Sharing the CROWN – Von Sammlungsdaten zu Linked Open Research Data’, annual conference of the association ‘Digital Humanities im deutschsprachigen Raum’ held at Trier and Luxemburg (13–17 March 2023)
    • Franz Kirchweger, lecture ‘CROWN. Ein interdisziplinäres Forschungsprojekt zu Materialität, Technologie und Erhaltungszustand der Wiener Reichskrone‘, conference on ‚Nicolaus Virdunensis Fabricavit. Das Goldschmiedewerk des Nikolaus von Verdun im Stift Klosterneuburg – Materialtechnologie und kunsthistorische Perspektiven‘, Klosterneuburg, 11–13 May 2023
    • Teresa Lamers, Chutimun Chanmuang N., lecture ‘Where conservators meet mineralogists: The CROWN project – an interdisciplinary study of the Imperial Crown’, lecture series at the Institute of Mineralogy and Crystallography at Vienna University, 23 June 202
    • Chutimun Chanmuang N., lecture ‘Gem spinel in the Imperial Crown of the Holy Roman Empire: Evidence for very early gemstone heating?’, MinWien 2023, 18. September 2023.
    • Martina Griesser, lecture ‘The splendour of the Imperial Crown of the Holy Roman Empire – Illuminating the gemstones by photoluminescence and Raman spectroscopy’, 19th Confocal Raman Imaging Symposium (25–27 Sept. 2023), Ulm, 25 Sept. 2023
    • Hanna Schneck, lecture “Das Crown-Projekt am Kunsthistorischen Museum Wien“, Goobi Days (26–27 Sept. 2023), Göttingen, 27 September 2023
    • Round table discussion ‘Die Wiener Reichskrone – Historische und Kunsthistorische Fragestellungen‘, Vienna, 16–17 June 2023.

      Clemens M.M. Bayer (Bonn/Liège), Klaus Gereon Beuckers (Kiel University), Harald Drös (Academy of Sciences, Heidelberg), Birgitta Falk (Domschatzkammer Aachen), Martina Griesser (KHM, Vienna), Helene Hanzer (KHM, Vienna), Franz Kirchweger (KHM, Vienna), Ludger Körntgen (Mainz University), Teresa Lamers (KHM, Vienna), Werner Maleczek (Vienna University), Michael Peter (Abegg-Stiftung, Riggisberg), Martina Pippal (Vienna University), Herbert Reitschuler (KHM, Vienna), Romedio Schmitz-Esser (Heidelberg University), Sebastian Scholz (Zürich University), Hiltrud Westermann-Angerhausen (Cologne), Andreas Zajic (Academy of Sciences, Vienna).

      Organisational and technical support:
      Dominik Cobanoglu, Stefan Braith and Jana Schuller-Frank.

      CROWN invited these experts on the history and the art of the early and High Middle Ages to discuss the status quo of the project, and to exchange views on the various suggested datings of the Imperial Crown and the reasons on which the latter are based. As expected, there were no easy and quick answers regarding dating, but a strong interest and a willingness for further discussions of these and other important questions (the crown’s original function, how do the different components relate to each other, chronology of the crown in relation to important comparative artefacts).

    Participants of the round-table discussion held on 16-17 June 2023 in Vienna


    • Workshop “Interdisziplinäres Forschungsprojekt CROWN“, Vienna, 21–22 Sept. 2023.

      Maurizio Aceto (Università degli Studi del Piemonte Orientale, Alessandria), Cristina Aibéo (Rathgen-Forschungslabor, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin – SPK), Thorsten Allscher (Institut für Bestandserhaltung und Restaurierung, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Munich), Clemens M.M. Bayer (Bonn/Liège), Andrea Fischer (Academy of Fine Arts, Stuttgart), Martina Griesser (KHM, Vienna), Helene Hanzer (KHM, Vienna), Matthias Heinzel (Leibniz Zentrum für Archäologie – LEIZA, Mainz), Franz Kirchweger (KHM, Vienna), Ludger Körntgen (Mainz University), Lothar Lambacher (Kunstgewerbemuseum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin – SPK), Teresa Lamers (KHM, Vienna), Ina Reiche (Institut de recherche de Chimie Paris / IRCP, and Centre de recherche et de restauration des musées de France / C2RMF, Paris), Herbert Reitschuler (KHM, Vienna), Stefan Röhrs (Rathgen-Forschungslabor, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin – SPK), Sabine Stanek (KHM, Vienna), Katharina Uhlir (KHM, Vienna);

      Organisational and technical support:
      Dominik Cobanoglu and Julia Spitaler.

      On 21-23 Sept. 2023 we organized a meeting in Vienna - a follow-up event to a video conference held on 4 Nov. 2022 - that brought together conservation scientists, historians and art historians to discuss initial results and findings, open questions and additional perspectives, and to share assessments and tips. A main focus was on the analysis of the enamel plates.

    Participants of the CROWN-Workshop held on 21–22 Sept. 2023 in Vienna


    • Lutz Nasdala, Teresa Lamers, H. Albert Gilg, Chutimun Chanmuang N., Martina Griesser, Franz Kirchweger, Annalena Erlacher, Miriam Böhmler and Gerald Giester: The Imperial Crown of the Holy Roman Empire, Part I: Photoluminescence and Raman Spectroscopic Study of the Gemstones, in: The Journal of Gemology, vol. 38, n° 5, 2023, S. 448-473.

      See PDF.

    Digital project data

    CROWN follows the international FAIR principles (‘findable, accessible, interoperable, re-usable’) with regards to the administration and processing of the generated digital data on the Imperial Crown’s circa 1,750 separate components. Starting point for the gathering of data in different formats (text, image and measuring data) is the KHM_Museumsverband’s long-established object databank ‘The Museum System’ (TMS). However, the FAIRification of this data as a Linked Open Data Resource requires a number of separate steps (modelling, normalization, transformation and mapping, semantic enrichment) that are connected with an independent research project ‘Sharing the Crown. Von Sammlungsdaten zu Linked Open Research Data’. We are grateful to CLARIAH-AT for supporting this research project:

    Realized in collaboration with the Zentrum für Informationsmodellierung at Graz University (Christopher Pollin, Georg Maximilian Reiter, Martina Scholger, Elisabeth Steiner, Gunter Vasold and Christine Burgstaller), it will provide the basis for the publication and long-term archiving of a much larger amount of research data than can be considered in connection with a book. The latter will be published in the certified research data repository 'Geisteswissenschaftliches Asset Management System - GAMS'.

    At the annual conference of the association ‘Digital Humanities im deutschsprachigen Raum’ held in Trier and Luxemburg (13-17 March 2023) we introduced the project in the form of a poster presentation.

    Documentary film

    Commissioned by the TV stations ORF and ARTE, and in collaboration with the Kunsthistorisches Museum, EPO-Film is producing a documentary directed by Klaus T. Steindl that accompanies the CROWN team during the different phases of the project in 2023/2024. Though the focus is on the ideas, objectives, procedures and insights connected with the examinations, the film will also recount the history of the Imperial Crown over the centuries and its importance in the context of European history. The production is supported by the Fernsehfond Austria and the Filmfond Wien. The film will be distributed by ORF Enterprise.

    What do we know?

    Much about this crown is unusual: its octagonal shape, its decoration with its complex meaning, and its history. Despite a long research history, scholars continue to disagree about such central questions as when and where the crown was made.

    Experts in history and the history of art, literature and religion have focused on the crown and published theories about its shape, its decoration, its symbolism and/or its use and history. However, only little of this can currently be considered completely certain and undisputed.

    The following focuses mainly on basic information about the Imperial Crown. It describes its appearance, its individual parts and components, and provides general explanations for the interested public that are based on the current state of research but do not attempt to represent its breadth and depth. One measure of the success of this project examining the Imperial Crown will be the number of necessary corrections and additions to these overview texts.

    Form & Shape

    Form and shape of the Imperial Crown are unlike those of any of the other extant mediaeval European crowns. But other crowns with hinged plates must have existed because a Roman icon from the early eighth century records an early example, showing the Virgin wearing just such a crown. 

    The Imperial Crown is 24.4 cm tall and comprises three elements that date from different periods.

    Eight large plates form the circlet, with plates encrusted with precious stones alternating with pictorial plates. Small empty mounts on the inside walls or along the bottom edge of some of the plates are all that remains of additional now-lost decorative elements. Small sleeves on the inside walls of the front and back plates were presumably already reused in the eleventh century to attach the extant arch. The cross surmounting the front plate is a later addition, too. 

    Scholars still dispute the dating of the crown’s various elements. Most believe that the plate-crown dates from before AD 980, while the cross was added during the reign of Emperor Henry II (ruled 1002-1024), and the extant arch under Emperor Conrad II (ruled 1024-1039).

    Its eight large plates are joined together by hinges with pins. This means it was originally easy to dismantle the circlet, though the construction remained somewhat instable until the addition at some later date of two reinforcing strips of iron riveted to the inside walls of the circlet.

    The arched plates are between 11.9 and 14.9 cm tall, which means they differ both in height and decoration. 

    The main plates over forehead, back and temples are set solely with precious stones and pearls, while the alternating smaller plates also feature depictions executed in cloisonné enamel. Small, now-empty gold tubes once held ornaments fashioned from precious stones or pearls. Decorative bands or pendant chains were presumably once suspended from the eyelets on the lower edges of the two side plates. All plates are clearly designed to enhance the brilliance and luminosity of the gemstones: hence the openwork below their complex raised mounts.

    The removable arch is 23.1 cm long and is attached to the crown with thorn-like pins inserted into tapered sleeves on the inside walls of the front and back plates. We may assume that it too originally helped to reinforce the instable circlet.

    Its exceptional shape is dominated by eight arches decorated with both a frame and an inscription executed in seed pearls. The latter runs over both sides of the arch and reads: „CHVONRADUS DEI GRATIA/ROMANORV (M) IMPERATOR AVG(VSTVS)“ (Conrad by the grace of God/august Emperor of the Romans“). 

    It is generally assumed to refer to Emperor Conrad II (ruled 1024-1039). More recently however, some scholars have suggested Conrad III. (ruled 1138-1152) instead, although he was never crowned emperor.

    The decorative details and the stones’ simple settings are very different from those used on the circlet. This and the way they are mounted suggests arch and circlet were not produced at the same time. We also do not know how, when and where the central part of the arch was damaged and then repaired.

    The front plate is surmounted by a cross that is 9.9 cm tall; its front too is set with precious stones and pearls. There is, however, no openwork and both settings and decoration also differ from those found on the circlet. The reverse is decorated with an engraved depiction of the crucified Christ, an image rarely used during the early and high Middle Ages. The early and high Middle Ages focused instead on depicting Christ’s victory and triumph over death, generally symbolized by gemstones and pearls – the decoration used on the front of the cross.

    Style and handling of the depiction of Christ on the reverse are similar to those found on a number of goldsmith works produced around 1020. The cross was a later addition to the circlet and its mounting is surprisingly improvised. The cross’s pin was inserted behind the top heart-shaped sapphire where it is held in place by a prong cut from the stone’s mount and soldered to the tapered sleeve.

    Inside the circlet is a red velvet biretta dating from the seventeenth or eighteenth century. Both a drawing of the Imperial Crown by Albrecht Dürer and his ideal portrait of Emperor Charlemagne painted around 1510 show that such caps existed much earlier. 

    They presumably made it easier to wear the relatively large and heavy crown during coronations and other state events: it measures 22.3 cm across and weighs around seven-and-a-half pounds. 

    Extant records from the early modern era tell us that newly-elected rulers had fittings prior to their coronations and that the mediaeval robes were adapted and altered in an attempt to make them fit the newly-elected ruler as best as possible. We may assume this also included fittings for the crown; small sewn-in pads allowed for alterations of the size of the velvet cap, some of which have survived in the extant cap.

    Material & Technique

    Today, the crown weighs a total of 3,465 grams (c. 7lb 10oz). All metal elements are made of high-carat gold, except for the strips of iron added later to stabilise the circlet. The eight plates are embellished with a total of 116 gemstones, mostly sapphires, emeralds, spinels and amethysts, all carefully selected and arranged by colour, shape and size. 

    Around 200 pearls were also used. Some gems and pearls were lost over the centuries. A few of these losses were replaced, including, for example, the octagonal garnet probably mounted on the back plate in 1764.

    Stones and pearls are mounted in raised settings placed over openwork, while the surface of the plates is decorated with delicate ornaments made of filigree wire and spherical pyramids.

    The enamel plaques were produced separately and are held in place by thin frames. The engraved depiction of the crucified Christ on the reverse of the cross was blackened with niello. Thin gold wire or silk thread was used to attach the seed pearls (inscription and frame) to the arch.

    The crown’s highly symbolic choice of materials and its complex concept are also reflected in many of the details comprising its decoration. These include not only pearl-wire tendrils and gold tubes with granules that fill the space between stones and pearls but also the latter’s extremely complex mounts on the circlet-plates. 

    Formal elements such as pearl-wire rings, unsupported granules and tiny cylinders were fashioned into delicate raised “multi-storey” mounts, creating the illusion that the individual gemstones and pearls are “hovering” above the plate, enhancing their brilliance and luminosity. 

    Individual motifs like the unsupported granules play an important role in connection with attempts to date the crown because they are but rarely found on extant tenth- and eleventh-century goldsmith work.

    These mounts differ from those used on both the cross and the arch. Although the rather unusual triple-prongs securing the larger stones on the circlet are also found on the cross, they are constructed differently.

    Over the centuries, some of the crown’s decoration was lost. In addition, we know of damage caused by handling and use, requiring repairs such as (re-)attaching individual decorative elements with wire. Some of the gold plates are deformed, and this may predate the addition of the two strips of iron to stabilize the circlet. However, the right side-plate was probably fractured after the addition of the strips of iron because the break line runs directly above where the strip was riveted in place. 

    The damage was repaired by adding an arched piece of gold plate to the strip of iron on the interior wall. The various repairs undoubtedly date from different periods, although we have not yet been able to determine exactly when they were carried out. 

    The central part of the arch was also damaged and restored by mounting it on a presumably new base held in place by nine loops. As a result of this damage and its repair the arch is now a little shorter, because the arch contracted slightly at the point of fracture, changing its angle.

    Content & Symbolism


    “Every element, every apparently merely decorative detail is imbued with meaning that expresses the concept of a divinely legitimized empire” 

    Helmut Trnek 

    Art historians have long examined the crown’s exceptional shape, numerous gemstones and pearls and the images on the pictorial plates to decipher their symbolic and theological content. 

    The circlet comprises eight plates, because in the Middle Ages eight was regarded as an imperial number and a symbol of perfection. 

    Stones and pearls on the four main (i.e. larger) plates above forehead, back and sides function as an allegorical reference to the ideal concept of the New (or Heavenly) Jerusalem. The twelve stones on the front and back plate symbolise, respectively, the twelve tribes of Israel and the twelve Apostles, with the emperor claiming to be the thirteenth Apostle. 

    The three kings and prophets from the Old Testament depicted on the pictorial plates represent the embodiment of virtues expected of a Christian ruler. The fourth plate shows Christ enthroned, as whose representative on earth the king or emperor wearing this crown saw and presented himself. 

    The four pictorial plates depict kings and prophets from the Old Testament, and Christ in Majesty. The former are identified by inscriptions and clutch banderoles with biblical quotes: 
    King David:
    (The king is mighty, he loves justice)

    King Salomon:
    (Fear the Lord and flee from evil)

    King Ezekias with the prophet Isaiah:
    (See, I have added another fifteen years to your life).

    David, King of Israel and a prophet, represents the virtue of justice, his son and successor Solomon wisdom, and the mortally-ill Ezekias faith in divine mercy.
    Christ in Majesty is flanked by two cherubim. His inscription P(ER) ME REGES REGNANT (By me kings reign) references the concept that the wearer of this crown was enthroned by God Himself.

    Both the front and back plate are encrusted with twelve stones carefully arranged by size and colour. The breastplate worn by the High Priest of the Israelites, the hoshen, in the Old Testament was also decorated with twelve precious stones. Scholars also see connections with the stones with which the walls of the New Jerusalem are embellished, with the twelve tribes of Israel and with the twelve Apostles. The number of stones on the crown emphasises the priestly-sacred character of the monarchy, identifying its wearer as a king and high priest who rules as Christ’s substitute on earth.

    Extant written sources from the Middle Ages identify a particular stone on the imperial crown as the “Orphan”. Scholars still debate if this is a literary conceit or if this stone really did exist. If it did exist, it must have been the precursor of the heart-shaped sapphire on the front plate. Clearly, its setting was initially conceived for a stone of a different shape and size.

    History &

    The special status of the Imperial Crown as the most potent symbol of the power and legitimacy of the kings and emperors of the Holy Roman Empire (of the German Nation) took centuries to evolve. It is first described as ‘imperial insignia’ (keyserliche zeichen) in an inventory compiled in 1246. Emperor Charles IV (1316-1378) promoted its veneration as the crown of Charlemagne and thus as a holy relic. 

    In the Middle Ages, emperors moved the imperial regalia, which included the crown, around, storing them in different castles, but from 1424 the regalia were housed in the free imperial city of Nuremberg, where they were also venerated as holy relics. Around 1510, Albrecht Durer painted an ideal portrait of Charlemagne, revered as the founder of the empire, wearing “his” crown.  This marked the first time it was depicted accurately and in detail.

    The last coronation of a Roman-German Emperor took place in 1792. Four years later, the imperia regalia were removed from Nuremberg to prevent them from falling into the hands of the advancing French. They ended up in Vienna, at the court of the reigning Emperor Francis II (1768-1835), where the crown and the rest of the imperial regalia remained after the end of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806. Since 1827, they have been on display in the Imperial Treasury. 

    Support the Research Project

    The complexity of the project means an enormous challenge for our financial resources.
    Your donation will help us to get to the bottom of the numerous unanswered questions about the construction and technology as well as the origin and composition of the materials of the Imperial Crown.

    Together with you, we can write (art) history. We thank you kindly for your support!

    Your donation is tax deductible!

    Account holder: KHM-Museumsverband
    IBAN: AT70 6000 0005 1014 1679

    Intended purpose: Donation research project Crown

    For more information, please contact

    Mag. Katrin Riedl, BA
    +43 1 52524 - 4032

    Support the Research Project

    The complexity of the project means an enormous challenge for our financial resources.
    Your donation will help us to get to the bottom of the numerous unanswered questions about the construction and technology as well as the origin and composition of the materials of the Imperial Crown.

    Together with you, we can write (art) history. We thank you kindly for your support!

    Your donation is tax deductible!

    Account holder: KHM-Museumsverband
    IBAN: AT70 6000 0005 1014 1679

    Intended purpose: Donation research project Crown

    For more information, please contact

    Mag. Katrin Riedl, BA
    +43 1 52524 - 4032