The Étoile des Alpes showcase



These pieces of goldsmithing and silversmithing were made by Antoine Colomb, who was born in Digne in 1826. He was the first to mount the little star-shaped black fossils, known as Saint-Vincent stones (or stars) from the name of the hill where they were found. To observe the sky, Pierre Gassendi climbed to the top of Saint-Vincent hill. With his curious mind, he noticed these strange star-shaped petrifications on the path. He described them in 1630 and called them Astéries or star stones. This is the oldest mention of Pentacrinus tuberculatus, marine fossils, fragments of animals of the echinodermata family (sea urchins and starfish).

The Saint-Vincent star is a stone that protects against bewitchment and evil spells. For this reason, it is presented in the showcase of objects of conjuration in the Museon Arlaten founded by Frédéric Mistral, a friend of Antoine Colomb. After Antoine Colomb, several jewellery craft workers made jewellery until the end of the 1970s.

These 200 million year old fossils are protected by the Haute-Provence Geological Reserve since 1984. It is possible to gather them if they are naturally revealed by erosion, but it is forbidden to extract them from their rock matrix.

Jewels saint Vincent’s star