Thanks to the Christian Bauwens Fund, a bracelet made by the Brussels silversmith and jeweller Charles Buls (1806–1870) has been acquired. As a jeweller appointed to the Duke of Brabant and numerous noble families, Buls was one of the 19th century’s most important and prosperous Belgian jewellers.

This piece has joined the collections of the DIVA in Antwerp, alongside a ring commissioned by Leopold I from another contemporary court jeweller, Jean-Baptiste Dees, which was also acquired by the Bauwens Fund. These two pieces are perfect examples of the type of jewellery that appealed to the nobility of the young, independent Belgium.

The bracelet, in yellow gold, is decorated with an oval medallion in blue enamel, bearing the monogram SM. The medallion is set with cut diamonds, decorated with pearls and six magnificent diamond roses, and surmounted by the Baron’s heraldic crown bearing seven pearls. The bracelet’s hinges are also decorated with pearls.

Charles Jacques Corneille Buls was born on 6 June 1806, in Mechelen and set up business as a jeweller and silversmith in Brussels from 1834 to 1870. In 20 January 1849, Buls was officially appointed Orfèvre de S.A.R. Mgr le duc de Brabant (Silversmith by appointment to HRH, His Grace the Duke of Brabant), the future King Leopold II. Buls was also appointed jeweller to Princess Isabel Fernanda de Bourbon, first lady at the court of King Leopold I and his name appears several times on the list of the most eminent merchants of the Brussels Chamber of Commerce. Buls died in Etterbeek (Brussels) on 14 July 1878, where he had lived since 13 October 1870, after his business had been taken over by his son, Charles Gommaire Buls, who was to become Mayor of Brussels.

Material / technique: 
Gold, enamel, diamonds and pearls
65 x 90 x 70 cm
Type of acquisition: 
Acquired by the Christian Bauwens Fund
Year of acquisition: 
Depository institution: 
DIVA, Antwerp