Culture start-up “Secret Love” - jewelry

They married in secret. The future King left Vilnius for Krakow to convince his parents to accept Barbara as his lawful wife. His beloved remained in Vilnius. Augustus’ journey lasted half a year. During all this time, the lovers sent romantic letters to each other, each time enclosing a token of their love – a beautiful piece of jewellery.
After a long struggle for his love, Sigismund Augustus got Barbara recognised as his lawful wife and crowned Grand Duchess of Lithuania and Queen of Poland.
Sigismund Augustus dressed in black and collected jewellery made of gold and precious stones. Barbara was very fond of pearls. All her clothes were decorated with pearls, and her wedding pearl headpiece became a European jewellery sensation. Every day, the florists at the royal palace decorated Queen Barbara’s rooms with bouquets of her favourite flowers: roses, lavender and pansies.
In this collection, the combination of silver and gold, pearl and black diamond in a plant-style ornament symbolises the eternal romantic love of Vilnius.
The collection is displayed in a café called Augustas & Barbora Love Story Café. On Stiklių Street, above the café, the art installation “Queen Barbara’s Flowers” by Kotryna Čalkaitė sways.
The deliberate choice of location underlines the complexity of the Secret Love project. The designer Julia Janus, together with the Stiklių Street community, aims to place the 500-year history of Barbara Radvilaitė in the streets of Vilnius Old Town.