Kopia naszyjnika księżnej Sybilli Kopia naszyjnika księżnej Sybilli

A Copy of Princess Sybilla's Necklace

There is a unique exhibit to be seen at the Amber Museum in Cracow: a copy of the amber necklace which used to belong to Duchess Sybilla of Brzeg. While making the copy, Marta Włodarska discovered that the original necklace from 1610, exhibited at the Castle Museum in Malbork, is not in fact the original either...

Although story of this discovery may not be as fascinating as Dan Brown's novels, it is still really interesting, especially for the amber lovers. In 2009 the Muzeum Piastów Śląskich(Silesian Piast Museum) in Brzeg asked Marta Włodarska, a designer, to make a replica of the amber necklace that belonged to the Duchess Sybilla Dorothea of Brzeg. The necklace was going to complement the full outfit of the Princess, as well as shoes, a silver belt and gold jewellery found in the Duchess' sarcophagus, reconstructed to commemorate the 700th anniversary of the Duchy of Brzeg.

The designer wanted to fulfil the task to the best of her abilities and started gathering documents of about the necklace. First, she went to the Castle Museum in Malbork, where a necklace was exhibited, labelled as a necklace that once belonged to the Duchess Sybilla of Brzeg, dated to 1610. She was truly stunned when she found a picture of the Duchess Sybilla's necklace in a book from 1937 by a prominent amber expert Alfred Rohde Amber - the German Material. Artistic Treatment from the Middle Ages to 18th Century. The necklace in the photograph in the book looked different than the necklace in Malbork (which in 1930s. was in the collection of Muzeum Sztuki Stosowanej i Starożytnej in Wrocław). Both necklaces differed significantly from each other with the shape of beads, their sizes and cut.

Marta Włodarska decided to make a copy of the necklace which she found in the collection of the museum in Malbork. She presented it for the first time at the International Fair for Amber, Jewellery and Gemstones Amberif in Gdańsk in March 2012. Although it was just a copy, it created a lot of interest which came along with a few offers of purchase.

We will not find the necklace of the Duchess Sybilla at an exhibition at the Castle Museum in Malbork anymore, but "a fragment of a necklace - 10 beads, Gdańsk, 17th century (?)". "As far as I know, there were many necklaces of this kind back then, therefore it will be difficult to determine definitely whether a particular necklace, or its fragments, is the one that used to belong to Princess Sybilla. However, our beads are certainly not identical to the necklace that was depicted in the photograph by Alfred Rohde in 1937" - explained Dr. Anna Sobecka, curator of the amber collection at the Castle Museum in Malbork. 

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