Also very nice!
.. any snaps of German orders?
Order of the Star of Romania
"Ordinul Steaua Romaniei"
The Order of the Star was the first Order instituted by the country of Romania after it became an independent state. The Order was instituted by high decree HR 1108 on May 10, 1871.
The construction of the Order was patterned after the Unification Order (Ordinul Unirii) established by Ion Alexandru Cuza, Prince of the United Principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia, during the period 1859-1866.
After the abdication of Prince Cuza, Carol, the second son of Prince Charles Anthony of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen (1848-85), was offered and accepted the position of Prince of Romania. Once Romania was self proclaimed an independent state, Carol I (Prince 1866-1881, King 1881-1914) instituted the Order of the Star in five grades, Knight, Officer, Commander, Grand Officer and Grand Cross. This Order was also in the shape of a Byzantine cross of dark blue enamel edged in silver or gold gilt surrounded by rays of irregular length and surmounted by a Royal Crown. On the obverse there is a center medallion surrounded by a green enameled wreath of oak leaves. The center medallion has an outer dark blue enamel band within which the inscription "IN FIDE SALUS" is printed in gold gilt with three gold stars at the base of the ring. Contained within the ring is a dark red enameled ring with a gilt eagle standing on a lightning rod. On the reverse, the center medallion is again surrounded by green oak leaves; however, with a red enamel center bearing the year 1877 in gilt. The ribbon consisted of red moiré with two blue stripes on the edges. The Order had different insignia for military consisting of two crossed swords between the insignia and crown or two crossed swords above the Byzantine cross. The peace Medal was issued without such swords. The peace Medal was part of the original High Decree and the swords were authorized later on August 10, 1881.
Awards exist having crossed swords both between the arms of the cross and also above it. Such an award indicates the recipient was honored with merit during peacetime and subsequently during wartime.
Knight and officer insignia are distinguished not only by the addition of a 25-27 mm. rosette on the officer ribbon but also by the officer insignia being gold gilt and the knight insignia being silver gilt.
Appointments to the Order and promotions within the Order were made following a specific criteria to reward civil service to the State and outstanding bravery during wartime. Decorations were awarded one class or grade a year depending upon the number of vacancies in such class or grade. The proposals were submitted to the Chancery of Orders. The limitations on issuance did not apply in the case of foreign citizens or persons decorated motu proprio by the King. Another exception to the authorized numbers of issuance was that male members of the royal family upon turning 18 were entitled to the Grand Cross Order of the Star. Posthumous awards were allowed.
The Order of the Star was headed by a Great Master who was the King assisted by a chancellor, the foreign minister and an honor council generally made up of four members appointed by the King. Any controversies concerning the Orders were settled by the Chancery who also kept the register of the Order and issued certificates.
The holder of an Order of the Star could be banned or excluded from the Order by a Royal Decree. Reasons included but were not limited to breaking of the law, disloyalty in the case of civil servants, discharge with disgrace or a serious offense tried by a counsel of honor in the case of civil awards. Military awards of the Order of the Star were returnable only in cases of high treason or desertion.
Beginning in 1932 a provision was added that established an obligation to return the insignia in case of promotion, death or exclusion, although this regulation was not enforced. On May 9, 1932 the design of the Order was altered by replacing the rays between the arms of the Byzantine cross with an eagle with widely spread wings between each arm. The center of the obverse medallion was also changed from the eagle standing on a lightning rod to the gold gilt cipher of Carol I. The ribbon was changed to red moiré having a silver border. In 1938 the ribbon was again changed to red moiré bordered by a gold stripe and two silver stripes.
On February 12, 1937 a new grade called the First Class was created and its priority was between the Grand Cross and Grand Officer.
The Grand Cross, Grand Officer and First Class awards consisted of a badge and a breast star. The Byzantine cross and rays (1st type) or outstretched eagle wings (2nd type) were repeated on the breast star and in addition surrounded by an eight pointed star (Grand Cross and Grand Officer) or four pointed star (First Class).
Members of the Order were limited in numbers as follows:
Class (1932) Civil Military
Grand Cross 35 10
Grand Officer 75 25
Commander 200 75
Officer 500 150
Knight 1000 350
Class (1938) Civil Military
Grand Cross 45 15
First Class 75 25
Grand Officer 100 40
Commander 300 125
Officer 750 250
Knight 1500 500
During World War I Romania was associated with the Allied powers. During World War II, Romania first allied itself with Germany and after the coup d'etat by King Michael in 1944 ousting Marshal Ion Antonescu from power, Romania joined the Allied powers. British military and naval personnel were awarded Orders of the Star during the First World War and German officers were awarded the Order of the Star during the Second World War.
The Order of the Star could also be awarded as a unit citation. Several ships of the Royal Romanian Navy received a unit citation in 1944 for their service in WW II.
The Knight and Officer insignia were worn by civilians on the left lapel and by military on the left side of the uniform. The Commander insignia and Grand Officer insignia were worn at the neck. The Grand Cross of both types and the First Class of the Type 2 Order were worn with the badge on a sash worn over the right shoulder and the breast star on the left side of the dress coat or uniform.
Miniatures and ribbons were authorized by regulation although the Grand Cross, First Class and Grand Officer grades were not allowed to be miniaturized.
Known manufacturers of the first type of the insignia are Kretley of Paris, Zimmermann of Pforzheim, and Resch and the National Mint of Bucharest.
Known manufacturers of the second type are Souval of Wien, Zimmermann of Pforzheim and Resch, Weiss and the National Mint in Bucharest.
Serial numbers were not often encountered, but have been observed on the type 2 Grand Cross, Grand Officer stars and badges and on some of the type 2 Commander Badges.
Most of the insignia were without hallmarks; however, the following hallmarks were known to exist:
ARG, IR, JRF-Resch
CFZ - Zimmermann
NM - National Mint Romania
RS - Souval
HW, BW - Weiss
Image of a Swan - believed to be Kretley.
The hallmarks are normally found on the cravat tie ring or ribbon ring. On the stars, the hallmarks are found on the pin bar. An oval jewelers plaque is also often found on stars made by Resch and Weiss.
Other than the rosettes on the officer grade of the insignia, an additional device on the ribbon consisted of two crossed swords on the Officer and Knight grades which were awarded to those serving during the War of Independence (1877-1878).
On June 26, 1943, King Michael instituted the addition of an oak leaf as a ribbon device which was awarded to solders who were wounded in action on three or more occasions. The oak leaf consisted of an oxidized metal stylized oak leaf 28 mm. by 10 mm.
The Royal Romanian Order of the Star became obsolete in 1947 with the formation of the Romanian Peoples Republic. Both the Romanian Peoples Republic and its successor, the Romanian Socialist Republic, maintained an Order of the Star in a different configuration. The Order of the Star continues today as an award in the current Romanian government.