Ferdinand’s Topaz
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il topazio più grande del mondo Ferdinand’s Topaz

Ferdinand’s Topaz

In the splendid setting of the Diocesan Museum of Taranto, an ancient sixteenth-century palace, among the numerous and important artistic works, Ferdinand’s Topaz is preserved, defined by some French researchers as "the greatest artistic jewel in the world".

It is not known exactly how the gem reached the Bourbon palace in Naples. We only know that it was a very hard stone, pale orange in color and weighing 4 kilograms. Considering the size of the stone, it was planned to use it for the door of the Palatine Chapel of the Royal Palace of Caserta and for the door of the church of San Francesco di Paola in Naples. The attempts to divide the stone were unsuccessful, every tool used was unsuitable and ended up ruining itself.
Ferdinand II  decided to entrust the work to the engraver Andrea Carriello for the church of San Francesco only. After 10 years of work using modern tools with a cutting edge, Andrea Carriello created an extraordinary work depicting Jesus in bas-relief in the act of breaking bread. If the work is extraordinary, its dimensions are impressive: 18 centimeters in height, 14.5 in length with a thickness of 7 centimeters and a weight of 1.5 kilograms.
The work, although finished, was not delivered to the Bourbon house, because in the meantime Ferdinand II had died and the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies had been annexed to the Savoy kingdom. Andrea Carriello, who did not receive the compensation of 270 ducats, had to console himself with the conservation of the work he created. This was later sold to the Latagliata family who donated it to the Archdiocese of Taranto.