The Crown itself
The Crown of the Andes is one of those objects that takes your breath away when you see it. The Metropolitan Museum conservators have done some fine work on it so that it looks its all time best now, there in Gallery 357 of the museum. One of the arches had sagged a bit and it's sparkling brilliantly in perfect lighting. It was made to dazzle the head of the Blessed Virgin Mary and it does indeed dazzle.
It's a sacred object, not a secular one. It was made as a thank offering. The best place to learn all about it is from Curator Ronda Kasl at the Met who offers a superb video in the series The Met Collects that is online.
I think of the Crown as the embodiment of so many cultures coming together--native, Spanish, North American, modern New York City. It inspires awe in many more ways than the craftsmen who made it ever imagined.