Hand made with impeccable craftsmanship in a family-owned shop in Varese, Italy - this 100% silk pocket square from Cinque Lune is worthy of the legendary flower to which it owes its design - the Semper Augustus.
Without question, the Semper Augustus is the most famous Tulip in history. It featured deep crimson flares against a milky white base in a stunning display that, at the height of Tulip Mania, would lead a single bulb to be worth more than a house.
A true "Broken Tulip", its magnificent coloration was the result of a virus that caused the pigments of the petals to concentrate in some areas but not others, leaving vivid streaks and flames. As the Dutch became infatuated with the flower in the early 17th century, it was these broken tulips that were prized above all.
And yet, even within this prestigious group, the Semper Augustus stood out. Subtle details like the thickness of its lines and the stark contrasts of its colors gripped the eyes of any who cast their gaze upon it. Captured in still-lifes by expert painters, as well as in catalogues using new and highly detailed printing technology, the stunning plant was shared far and wide.
The flower's scarcity only added to its allure. In 1624, someone wrote that only 12 examples even existed, all owned by a single individual believed to be Adrian Pauw - a director of the Dutch East India company and a leading official in Amsterdam. Already fabulously wealthy, he refused to sell any of his prized flower, which in turn only increased desire for the bulbs.
Reliable historical data is difficult to find, but in 1633 one bulb was said to have sold for 5,500 guilders, more than three times the annual earnings of a typical merchant. At the peak of Tulip Mania in 1636-1637, it was said that 10,000 guilders were offered, enough to purchase a grand house on the finest canal in Amsterdam - one of the most expensive cities in the world.