The order's insignia consists of a green enameled cross with four arms of equal length, whose angles are filled out with golden clasps. The gold-edged medallion shows the tribal symbol of the Zähringers in coloured enamel. Around the circle is the order's motto, FÜR EHRE UND WAHRHEIT (FOR HONOUR AND TRUTH). On the back, the Zähringer lion is portrayed on a red background. The order's band is green with orange-yellow stripes along the edges.
For special awards, the order was granted with oak leaves and from 1866 could also be awarded with crossed swords for military services. The oak leaves originally carried an "L" cipher, which went out of use in 1866. Moreover, in exceptional cases, the grand cross award could also be covered in diamonds - only eight such awards occurred: