The exhibition was opened to the public in 1967 to mark the 50th anniversary of the Soviet state. Initially, the collection was to be on display for a year. However, considering great interest in it and a vast number of visitors, it was decided to make the exhibition permanent.
In this post I want to show you a few pieces of the Fund's vast jewelry collection.
Russian filed diadem. Platinum, gold, diamonds. 1980
This diadem was the first in a series of works aimed at recreating pieces of 19th century Russian jewellery that had been lost. Unfortunately many fine works of that period did not survive. They can only be seen in portraits, a few rare photographs or drawings, so it was decided to give a second life to some of the lost works of those years.
The Russian Field Diadem is not a reproduction of a lost masterpiece, not a copy, but an independent work intended to recreate the image of jewels from the Imperial treasury that have not survived.
The large central diamond with a golden tinge, weighing 35.52 carats, symbolizes the sun in the composition. There are 1836 diamonds used in the diadem and all are colorless, yet the spectator not only sees white stalks and flowers, but also ears of a deep golden hue. This effect is achieved by using two precious metals, gold and platinum.
Narcissus Bouquet. Gold, silver, diamonds, enamel
Second half of 18th century
Fountain aigrette. Gold, silver, sapphires and diamonds
Made around 1755-1760
An aigrette is a spray of gems, plums, etc., worn on the head. Fashion of the 18th century prescribed women to adorn their coiffures and hats with vertically placed ostrich feathers. This plumage needed a special support to be held in place so it was fitted in a special case called 'aigrette'. This one was made in 1755-1760 and imitates the jets of a fountain. A set of big earrings made of the same kind of materials continue the water cascade theme.
Pendant. Reddish-pink tourmaline, gold, enamel.
This beautiful reddish-pink gem the size of a chicken egg and weighing 260,86 carats is interesting in many respects. It is a tourmaline of a most unusual color and shape. It was brought from Holland to France and then to Bohemia. Then it found its way from Prague to Stockholm where it became a real treasure in the collection of King Gustav III. While on his visit to St. Petersburg in 1777 the Swedish monarch presented it to Catherine the Great.
Pandora dolls' hats. Gold, silver, diamonds, rubies, emeralds, enamel.
Made in 1770s
In the absence of any other reliable sources, like fashion magazines, plates, travelogues and so on, a doll called Pandora was used as the primary source of information about the latest fashion trends. These Pandoras were sent out by French fashion houses to England, Germany, Spain, Italy and Russia to exhibit everything a fashionable woman needed to wear. Pandoras were outfitted head to toe and displayed the latest fashions in clothes and hairstyle as well as accessories that matched their wardrobe.
Esclavage Bow. Gold, silver, diamonds, spinels
Made in 1764 for Empress Catherine the Great
Jewelers refer to the word "esclavage" meaning a small necklace. This type of jewelry came into fashion in early 60s of the 18th century. A wide lace or velvet ribbon was wrapped around the neck and over it an esclavage was pinned or clasped. This one is entirely covered with diamonds and spinel. The gems in the bow are naturally of light colour but being placed on a foil they acquire another tint and become rich red. Earrings made by the same master jeweler make up a set with the bow.
Ceylon sapphire brooch. 19th century
In the nineteenth century there was fashion for large brooches, which were used to fasten big shawls also popular at the time. The beauty of the sapphire is emphasized by the elegant frame of sparkling diamonds, which skilfully conceals the stone's thickness and highlights the shape by its wavy line. In terms of purity of tone, depth of coloring, quality of cutting and size (260.37 carats) this sapphire is one of the largest and most beautiful in the world.
Colombian emerald brooch. 19th century
Another brooch of the 19th century.This remarkable gemstone, weighing 136.25 carats which in earlier times was called a smaragd and revered as the stone of life, spring and wisdom, is remarkable for its deep shade of green and pure, even colouring.The emerald in the exhibition has almost no flaws, and its six inclusions are too small to be visible to the naked eye.
Cornucopia hair pin. Diamonds, gold, silver. Made around 1780
The pin is made exclusively of diamonds in whimsical design and asymmetrical composition characteristic of the Rococo style. The stones of different sizes are arranged to produce maximum effect from each one individually and the item as a whole.
Rose brooch. Diamonds, platinum. 1960s
The exquisite Rose Brooch is a kind of symbol of the modern section of the Diamond Fund display. The petals seem to be opening before our eyes. The illusion of movement and life is also achieved by the use of tiny springs to fasten the central part of the flower. This device makes the rose petals quiver, bringing to life all the 1,500 tiny diamonds and making them sparkle with a myriad iridescent points of light.
Empire style diadem. Early 19th century
The diamond diadem owned by empress Elizaveta Alexeevna, a wife of tsar Alexander I, is a masterpiece of the kind. It was made around 1810 in the Empire style that was fashionable at the time. It is decorated of 175 diamonds and 1200 "roses". The word "rose" describes the old art of diamond cut when the lower part of a mineral becomes flat, and the rose cut gems are called rough and not gem diamonds.
Gold bracelet with the portrait of Tsar Alexander I. 1820s
Gold Fleece Order. 19th century
The Gold Fleece Order held in the Diamond Fund was made in the middle of the 19th century of gold and diamonds. It is suspended to a massive clasp made of very rare Brazilian topazes. Unusual, if not unique, colour of topazes, their size and purity make this item a great rarity.
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