top of page



A crown for Berlin
Reichstag Krone.jpg

A century after the fall of the great monarchies, the Schapka Berolina follows the legend of its  examples, the Russian Tsar's crown Shapka Monomakha and the Berlin Gold Hat. It is an accessory in the city of fashion, Berlin.

The jewel-studded golden cap on a sable brim (“soft gold”) attracts the full attention of its wearer, remains unique in the world of fashion and stands out from the mass consumption to which most traditional brands have now degenerated.

Krone II.jpg
Legend of the Shapka Monomakha

As one of the greatest trading powers of the time, Genoa achieved great wealth in the Middle Ages. Spices, fine fabrics and valuable materials came to the Mediterranean coast from distant countries and were resold to mainland Europe. A Genoese merchant owned a sumptuous headgear of Tatar origin made of gold, filigree, emeralds and carbuncles. This cap got to Constantinople. The legend tells that the Byzantine emperors (Monomakhs) Basil II and Constantine IX. gave it to Kiev Grand Duke Vladimir the Holy in 988 on the occasion of his baptism and marriage with her sister Anna. (Boris Antonov: Russian Tsars. Art publisher "Iwan Fjodorow", St. Petersburg, 2005, ISBN 5-93893-111-8)


Grand Duke Ivan IV, the Terrible, was crowned tsar over all Russians. In 1547 Metropolitan Makari placed on him the symbols of the tsarist dignity in the Moscow Kremlin: the cross of the life-giving tree and the Monomakh's cap . In 1561 the title of Tsar was confirmed by a document from the Patriarch of Constantinople. Since then, the Monomakh's cap has served as a link for the transition of religious autocracy and the court ceremony from Byzantium to Russia, with Moscow as the “Third Rome”.

Shapka Monomakha is the oldest Russian crown that can be seen in the armory of the Moscow Kremlin. It was the crown of all Moscow grand dukes and tsars from Dimitri Donskoy (Rurikide) to Peter the Great (Romanov). The cross structure on the Monomakh's cap was not mounted until the 15th or 16th century to symbolize the power of the tsar, legitimized by God. The shape of the hat was used again and again later by the grand dukes and tsars. The following crowns were showered with more and more diamonds and soon underlined the oriental pomp typical of the Russians. It didn't make them more beautiful, but all the more expensive.


The filigree plates of the Shapka Monomakha only hold one gemstone, which is typically not yet cut for the time of its creation. There is no sparkle from a richly faceted cut, only the shine and the color of the stones on the Tatar filigree beguile the viewer.

The modern shape of the Schapka Berolina uses just as few gemstones, but each of them is set on a silk-matt base plate. The cut of the stones should enchant the viewer more than a religious ornament. In contrast to the model, the Berlin Cap is open at the top and deliberately does without the attached cross of the tsar's crown, which underlines its angular shape, negates God-given power, makes room for the Enlightenment of Central Europe and indicates the change of epochs with intercultural globalization.

The choice of materials for the Shapka Berolina

In the Middle Ages only four gemstones were known: diamond, emerald (a beryl), as well as carbuncle and sapphire (both corundum). What they all had in common was their clarity, their shine, their fire and sparkle, their transparency and hardness. Basically, the definition of gemstones has not changed to date, only that many more minerals are known today than they were 1000 years ago. Many famous diamonds in crowns later turned out to be beryl or topaz. Even the red carbuncle was rarely a ruby. Often enough spinels or stones of the garnet group were hidden behind carbuncles. Gaius Plinius Secundus already summarized ruby ​​and garnet under the term carbuncle because of their similarity to glowing coals.


A crown is a symbol of power, power over other people, their fate, life or death. In the Middle Ages the topaz was considered a healing stone (against pestilence) and possessed the power to evoke disgust for blood. Consequently, all rulers who could spark wars should have a topaz. (Nicola Cipriani: Minerals and noble stones. Bechtermünz Verlag 1997, ISBN 3-86047-585-1).

For the Shapka Berolina, the imperial topaz stands as a wish for the fightless coming together of peoples and religions. The adjacent emerald ties in with the Indian belief that it can expose traitors. So he supports Topaz's wish for friendship and for harmony of the multiculturalism of the city of Berlin. The aquamarine appears twice as a solitaire stone in the Shapka Berolina. According to Albertus Magnus, the aquamarine guarantees victory over enemies and drives away grief and worries. Berlin is a magnet for art, culture and fashion. The precarious financial situation in Berlin often decides the life or death of a venue, an ensemble or an installation. The Aquamarine is intended to help young and non-established artists on their way.


Great attention was paid to the selection of stones for the frontal plate. In contrast to the other panels, these are not solitary stones but an arrangement of crosses. It is based on a Verdelite tourmaline. Its color stands for the lush green of the glacial landscape in which Berlin is embedded. Two carbuncle stones form the side arms. Their blood-red sparkles symbolize morning and evening red, Orient and Occident. They symbolize the nerve of the city, as a multicultural entity, with all its facets from segregation to integration. The carbuncles are Spessartite garnets. They promise immortality, because they sprout as red pomegranates from the tree of life, for which the cross symbol stands. They are filled with seeds that symbolize life again and again.

The sun floats above everything in the form of a Ceylon sapphire, which appears to be one with the golden frame and base plate on which it is mounted. The sun is the basis of life on earth. Together with the carbuncles, the sapphire also expresses the dynamic movement of the sun, which every day runs in a wide arc across the sky, but then sets, only to reappear the next morning with unbroken strength.

The arms of the cross are arranged around a danburite, a stone with a higher refractive power than a diamond, which inculturates the viewer in the melting pot of the city. The danburite stands for water to fertilize the soil with life. It sits on tourmaline as the source of life on our planet.

bottom of page