Since the 18th century. chests with Russian crown jewels were kept in the Diamond Room, a special storage facility in the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg. When the First World War broke out, it was decided to transport the crown jewels to
Moscow. On July 24, 1914, who arrived from the Winter Palace, the chests in which the crown jewels were packed were received by V.K. Trutovsky. Among the eight chests exported from St. Petersburg were two chests with crown jewels (without numbers).
Valuables that belonged to the family of Nicholas II as personal property were also taken away. The treasure chests were collected with such haste that no inventory or deed of handover was attached to them. After the outbreak of the Civil War in Russia and even after the Council of People's Commissars moved to Moscow (March 1918), the Bolsheviks had no time for imperial regalia and crown diamonds. Therefore, until the spring of 1922, boxes with regalia and crown diamonds lay safely in the Armory, littered with other boxes transported from Petrograd in September 1917. Among the jewelry to be recorded and described in 1922 were jewelry found in the personal chambers of the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna in the Anichkov Palace, where she transported them for personal use. Among these jewels was a large bow-claw and girandoli earrings
In the early 60s of the 18th century, small necklaces (sklavages), which were worn high on the neck, sometimes simultaneously with long, freely hanging rows of pearl threads, came into fashion. Sklavage bows like this, attached to a lace ribbon or velvet tightly fitting the neck, can be seen in portraits from the mid-18th century. The reverse side of this decoration is engraved with the inscription: Pfisterer 10 Apr. 1764. Girandoli earrings are dated May 27 of the same year. The bow adorns 21 spinels with a total weight of 150 carats. For a greater coloristic effect, the jeweler used a technique widespread at that time - placing foil under the stones. Monolithic deaf castes of stones are made of gold in the tradition of the same 18th century. The motif of the bow is also repeated by the girandole earrings, which make up a parure with a bow-fold. These fine jewelry are currently in the Diamond Fund.
The decision to open the chests with imperial regalia was made at the beginning of 1922. One of the main tasks of the commission was the examination and selection of valuables stored in the Moscow Kremlin Armory, including boxes with the contents of the Diamond Room. According to the memoirs of Academician A. Fersman, in April 1922, the chests with imperial regalia and crown diamonds were opened on the top floor of the Armory. “… Bring in boxes. There are five of them. Among them is an iron box, firmly tied, with large wax seals. We examine the seals, everything is intact. An experienced locksmith easily opens an unpretentious, very poor lock without a key, inside - the jewels of the Russian tsar hastily wrapped in tissue paper. With hands freezing from the cold, we take out one sparkling gem after another. There are no inventories anywhere and no definite order can be seen …"
Photo from the French magazine "L'Illustration". The accompanying article stated: "… This is the first photograph that the Soviets were allowed to take after the Imperial treasures were in their hands …"
Photo from the catalog compiled under the leadership of A.E.Fersman, which depicts several historic diamonds that belonged to the Russian crown. In the center is the Orlov diamond crowning the imperial scepter, currently in the Diamond Fund. To the left and to the right of it is the Shah diamond, photographed from four angles, with inscriptions on each side (Diamond Fund). Above is a diamond that adorns the orb, shown in three angles ((Diamond Fund). The large diamond in the lower right corner was sold in London on March 16, 1927 at Christie's, as lot # 100. This oval, classic-cut diamond weighing about 40 carats, pinkish, framed under a brooch, was selected from among the jewels found in the chambers of the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna.
Since no transfer lists were attached to the chests, they were identified by old inventories of crown jewels (1898). In the course of the work, the jewels were immediately divided into 3 categories: 1. First-class items of artistic and historical value. 2. Products of lesser historical significance. 3. Individual stones, strings of pearls and items of lesser value.
Experts are studying the Romanovs' jewelry and jewelry from the Yusupovs collection, found by chance in a niche in the wall of their family mansion in Moscow in 1925. After the revolution, this mansion housed the Military History Museum. Unfortunately, the photo was taken because the experts intended to remove the stones from their frames. On the right you can clearly see a pile of frames, ready to be melted down, and most of the stones recovered from them were most likely intended for sale on the international market. This photograph is clear evidence that some of the finest examples of French and Russian jewelery were destroyed.
The further fate of the values was different. Some of them are still kept in the Diamond Fund of the Moscow Kremlin. This applies to the imperial regalia and part of the crown diamonds. The following fact gives an idea of what kind of “part” this is: out of 18 diadems and crowns, only two crowns and two diadems that once belonged to the Romanovs' house are kept in the Diamond Fund today. Some are kept in various museums in Russia, being the pearls of exhibitions such as the values of the "Diamond Room" of the State Hermitage.
Members of the first unofficial Commission of Inquiry in Russia examine the crown jewels of the Romanovs, shown to them with the permission of the authorities in Moscow in November 1926.
Egret in the form of a fountain with sapphires is unusual in its artistic design. A diamond sheaf splashes out in streams ending in movably fixed large drops of sapphire briolettes and pandas. At the slightest movement of the aigrette, sapphires of different shades light up with an inner dark blue fire, casting bluish shadows over sparkling diamonds. In the parure with aegret, there are earrings in the form of a brilliant diamond cascade with heavy, freely hanging drops of sapphire bezels. Parure stones are magnificent examples of gems from the time of Empress Elizabeth - around 1750. (Diamond fund).
Among the jewels that the commission decided to keep was a number of unique diamond jewelery from the reign of Empress Elizabeth Petrovna. All diamonds of Indian and Brazilian origin are set in gold and silver and have colored foil substrates that soften the cold sparkle of the stones and emphasize the natural shades of the gems.
"Big Bouquet" is a corsage adornment made of gold, silver, Brazilian diamonds of various shapes and sizes (140 carats) and small Colombian emeralds of stepped or brilliant cut (50 carats). All elements hold fastenings thin as feathers; the bouquet vibrates freely, casting reflections at the slightest touch. A smaller bouquet with diamond flowers and leaves of gold and dark green enamel.
Diamond belt with two tassels, created during the reign of Catherine II, presumably by the jeweler Louis David Duval. Part of the belt was later used to create a wedding crown.
The Imperial Wedding Crown was created in 1840. jewelers Nicholas and Plinke using diamonds from a large belt from the time of Catherine II, the author of which is considered to be a court jeweler of the 18th century. Louis David Duval. The surviving part of the belt with two diamond tassels consists of separate elements connected together with a silver wire; the stones are set in monolithic silver. Unlike Papi, the History of the State website gives a different story about the creation of the imperial crown: until 1884, traditionally for the wedding of representatives of the Imperial family, a new wedding crown was made each time.
The tradition of making a wedding crown for each wedding was interrupted in 1884 and the crown made for the wedding day of Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich and Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna was not taken apart. In the manufacture of the wedding crown in 1884, they used part of the stripes (80 pieces) of the "diamond side" of the camisole and caftan of Emperor Paul I, the work of Leopold Pfisterer (1767). They were attached with silver threads to the crimson velvet of the frame of the wedding crown. The cross on the crown is made up of stones taken from a diamond epaulette made at the beginning of the 19th century. Apparently, the crown was made by the jewelers of the K.E. Bolina (silver, diamonds, velvet; height 14.5 cm, diameter 10.2 cm). Despite its beauty and importance, the crown was not classified as a highly artistic product. It was sold from Gokhran in November 1926 to the antique dealer Norman Weiss.
It was then resold at Christie's in London on March 26, 1927 to the antique dealer Fawns for £ 6,100 and was kept at the Wartski Gallery in London. Its last owner was Marjorie Post, who acquired the crown in 1966 at Sotheby's. Currently, the imperial wedding crown is kept in the Icon Room of the Hillwood Museum near Washington. The rest of the belt fragments were recognized as an excellent example of jewelry art of the mid-18th century. and retained by the Soviet government.
Diamond epaulettes. The first two date back to the beginning of the 19th century; the third is made of gold, by the era of Catherine II. Diamond fund.
The large diamond agraph buckle that held the mantle of Catherine II together, presumably the work of the court jeweler Jeremiah Pozier. Below are the cherry-shaped earrings that were part of the Romanov wedding set, which once belonged to Catherine II. On a thick oval-shaped diamond stem hang two leaf diamonds with large solitaire fruits of the highest quality. The long, curved bows of the earrings - twins - were attached behind the ears. The earrings were made during the transition period from the rococo style to the classicism. Diamond fund.
Cherry earrings on Maria Pavlovna, daughter of Grand Duke Pavel Alexandrovich, granddaughter of Alexander II. 1908. From the memoirs of Mary: “On the table lay the jewels of the imperial house, which the Grand Duchesses were supposed to wear on their wedding day. There was a diadem of Empress Catherine with a pink diamond of amazing beauty in the center and a small dark red velvet crown, all studded with diamonds. There was a diamond necklace made of large stones, bracelets and earrings in the shape of cherries, so heavy!.. I could barely move … The earrings pulled my ears so hard that in the middle of the banquet I took them off and, greatly amusing the emperor, hung them on the edge of the glass in front of me. with water".
The diadem with a pink 13-carat diamond, also included in the Romanov wedding set, is the only diadem of the 19th and 20th centuries located in Russia. It combines the traditions of classicism, as well as of its final stage - the Empire style - with the elegant luxury of paneling and briolette. The diadem was repeatedly depicted in the portraits of the widow of Paul I. And until the beginning of the 20th century. was used in the wedding dress of the Grand Duchesses.A similar diadem was created for the daughter of Emperor Paul - Anna, but without a large stone in the center. Diamond fund.
An oval sapphire with many facets, photographed from two angles; this 260-carat stone was found in the chambers of Maria Feodorovna in the Anichkov Palace. Sapphire is edged in the tradition of Russian jewelers with a double ring of diamonds; the inner ring is studded with small diamonds; the outer ring is composed of 18 large stones with a total weight of 50 carats. Diamond fund.
Emerald "Green Queen" weighing more than 136 carats of deep dark green color, stepped cut, edged with diamonds. The stone was found in South America in the middle of the 16th century. During the reign of Nicholas I, it was framed with a patterned belt, the pattern of which is composed of old-cut diamonds in a silver setting, alternating with leaves studded with small diamonds. In 1913, the emerald was placed in the vault of His Majesty's office together with the collection of the Grand Duchess Alexandra Iosifovna (nee Princess of Saxe-Altenburg), wife of Grand Duke Konstantin Nikolaevich, who had died shortly before. Diamond fund.
Some of the jewelry was sold on behalf of the Soviet government at auctions in 1926, 1927, 1929, 1933, 1934 and 1938, which took place in Berlin, Vienna, London and New York. Organizational preparations for this operation began in the first half of the 1920s, after the chairman of the Council of People's Commissars V.I. Lenin demanded the introduction of "especially urgent measures to speed up the analysis of values." Preparations for their sale began in 1923. From 1923 to 1925, a special commission headed by Academician Alexander Fersman worked in Moscow to prepare the auctions. Agathon Faberge was a member of the commission as an expert.
The main task of the commission was not so much the study of the imperial jewelry heritage, but the preparation of this heritage for sale. Work with imperial regalia and crown diamonds has confirmed the perfect safety of all jewelry and regalia declared by the government's precious metals foundation. The commission involved in its scientific processing described and entered into the inventory 271 numbers, which included 406 art objects (the discrepancy in the numbers was explained by the fact that individual items made up whole sets, which included several precious items).
Commission for the selection of items for sale at Christie's auction in London in 1927.
Material published in Sphere magazine a few days after the jewelry sale. The text on the title page of the catalog read: "A valuable ensemble of fine jewelry, most of the 18th century, that belonged to the Russian crown and was acquired by a syndicate in that country. Now they are being implemented so that mutual settlements can be made."
One of two diamond bracelets from the era of Catherine II (c. 1780). In the design of the bracelet, a foliage ornament is combined with the motif of a ribbon, “tied” in the central fragment into a knot, which is a large oval-shaped diamond. (lot number 44).
Girandoli earrings with amethysts and diamonds. Dated to the XVIII century. and were sold in 1927. (lot # 27)
Diamond tassels from the time of Catherine II by the jeweler Duval. In 1927. they were auctioned off in 16 lots (two tassels each). They were recently put up for auction again, but as earrings.
Brooch with a sapphire edged with diamonds and a teardrop-shaped pearl pendant. This brooch has an amazing destiny. In 1866 Maria Feodorovna received it as a wedding present from her sister Alexandra. Thanks to Alexandra's efforts, in March 1919, the English dreadnought "Marlboro" took on board the Empress and all those accompanying her.
In Great Britain, the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna was welcomed, but the nee Princess Dagmar chose to live in her native Denmark, where she died in 1928.
Empress Dowager Maria Feodorovna and her sister the Queen - Alexander's mother in the photograph taken at their residence in Vidør (Denmark).
On this occasion, financier Peter Bark arrived in Copenhagen with the task of delivering Maria Feodorovna's jewelry to England. Bark skillfully intimidated the heiresses with possible thefts, and took out Maria Feodorovna's jewelry, insuring them for a fantastic amount, at that time, - two hundred thousand pounds sterling. The wife of the reigning King George V, Mary Tekskaya, acquired several items that belonged to Maria Feodorovna, including a brooch with a large oval cabochon sapphire surrounded by diamonds and a pearl drop pendant. Twenty-four years later, in 1952, she presented it to her granddaughter, Queen Elizabeth II, who was engaged to the British throne.
Diamond bracelet with sapphire, pearl and ruby from the personal collection of Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, acquired by King George V.
Photo from the archive of Cartier. A sautoir diamond chain featuring a 478 carat sapphire ring. This sapphire was first heard of in 1913, when it was cut by the Cartier jewelers. The stone was given the shape of a 478-carat pillow. Sapphire was introduced as a pendant on a long necklace. In 1919, the piece was exhibited at the Cartier Jewelery Exhibition. Two years later, King Ferdinand of Romania bought a necklace for his wife Maria. Maria, the august granddaughter of the Emperor Alexander II Nikolaevich, Princess Maria Alexandra Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha (1875 - 1938), the eldest August daughter of Prince and Knight Alfred (1844 - 190) of Great Britain, Duke of Edinburgh, the second August son of the Queen Great Britain, Ireland and the Empress of India Victoria I (1819 - 1901), the Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha lost all her jewelry, imprudently sending them to Russia at the beginning of the First World War, where, as she thought, they should have been in full safety. But during the years of the revolution they disappeared without a trace. In 1921, King Ferdinand acquired, on the condition that the sale and purchase transaction is canceled in the event of serious or unforeseen circumstances, and the amount of the transaction must be paid in four installments before 1924, the sautoir diamond chain with sapphire and paid 3,375,000 French francs …
Queen Maria of Romania at a reception for her coronation in Alba Iulia on 15 October 1922. A perfect addition to the sautoir diamond chain with sapphire is the diamond kokoshnik inherited by the son of Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna, Grand Duke Kirill Vladimirovich and sold to Maria Romanian by his wife and her sister Victoria.
After the death of Queen Mary, the sapphire was inherited by her grandson, King Mihai. The necklace was worn at the wedding by the king's bride, Princess Anna of Bourbon-Primskaya. Then it was for the last time adorned by the representative of the Romanian royal family. The jewelry was sold in 1948. The sapphire was bought by a Greek millionaire and presented as a gift to the Queen of Greece Frederica of Hanover. The Queen used the sapphire as a pendant for the pearl tiara necklace. Until 2003, the Sapphire of Mary of Romania was in the collection of the Greek royal family, although it was on the verge of ruin, but in the end, the jewelry was sold at Christie’s auction. The preliminary estimate for the stone was 1.7 million Swiss francs.
Photo from the archive of Cartier. The sautoir diamond chain he created for Queen Mary of Serbia in 1923. using emeralds from a necklace with a brooch of the Grand Duchess Elizabeth Vladimirovna, which she wore in 1922. Seven huge cabochon-cut emeralds are combined in a diamond pattern and drop-shaped emeralds hang from them, which are attached to diamonds.
Second daughter of King Ferdinand of Hohenzollern (1865-1927) and Romanian Queen Mary (1875-1938), Princess of Great Britain and Ireland, niece of King Edward VII and granddaughter of Queen Victoria, Queen of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, Maria. Mary's maternal grandmother was a famous beauty, Grand Duchess Maria Alexandrovna, sister of Alexander III, and her maternal grandfather was Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, the second son of Queen Victoria.In addition to the sautoir chain, the queen is adorned with an emerald and diamond kokoshnik.
Another decoration using the same emeralds.
A kokoshnik with diamonds and teardrop-shaped pearls (lot No. 117), made by the court jeweler Bolin in 1841 and discovered in the chambers of the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna. 25 pearls are suspended in diamond arches. Today this diadem is owned by I. Marcos (the government of the Philippines is trying to put the diadem and other valuables from the Marcos collection for auction).
Emerald and diamond kokoshnik made by the court jeweler Bolin for Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna (Elizabeth Alexandra Louise Alice of Hesse-Darmstadt). Kokoshnik was part of a parure of emeralds, which Elizaveta Fedorovna received as a gift for the wedding. Previously, this parure belonged to the mother of Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich, Empress Maria Alexandrovna. The court jeweler Bolin made this kokoshnik tiara in gold and silver, set with seven cabochon-cut emeralds, framed by exquisite diamond weaving. The same emeralds were inserted into another tiara - the kokoshnik.