White enamel and silver-gilt Maltese cross with ball-tipped finials on swivel crown suspension; the face with a circular central white enamel medallion bearing the crowned cipher of Adolph of Nassau within a gilt-edged deep blue enamel ring inscribed ‘VIRTUTE’ (Merit) in gilt letters; the reverse with a circular central white enamel medallion bearing the dates ‘1292’ and ‘1860’ in gilt numerals; chip to the white enamel of the lower right point of the face and the lower right arm of the reverse, some of the blue enamel of the face now absent (see illustrations); on probably original somewhat grubby ribbon.
The Order was originally established by Duke Adolph of Nassau on 8 May 1858. Abolished when Nassau was subsumed into the German Empire in 1866, it was reinstated as a Grand Ducal order in 1890 and recognises meritorious actions or heroic deeds in the name of Luxembourg.
The date 1292 refers to the year in which Adolf of Nassau-Weilburg (1255 to 1298) became king of Germany and Holy Roman Emperor. The version issued by the Duchy of Nassau from 1858 to 1866 was dated ‘1858’ rather than ‘1860’ on the reverse and we thus know that this example is of the Luxembourg issue.