Sunday, 9 February 2014

Seven Stones of the Russian Diamond Fund

The Kremlin's Diamond Depository dates back to the reign of Peter I, who decreed for the most valuable treasures to become property of the Russian state, not only of the Royal Family. From then on, precious regalia, insignia and secular jewelry belonging to several generations of Russian rulers would be stored in the Diamond Room in St. Petersburg.

When WWI broke out, the collection was moved to Moscow and placed in the Armory basement, where it would stay for nearly 8 years. The Diamond Depository was established in 1922.

In 1967, when the Soviet state was celebrating its 50th anniversary the treasures were placed on public display.
A deep Red Spinel weighing 398.72 carats adorns the famous Great Imperial Crown. Made by court jeweler Jeremie Pauzie, the crown was created for the coronation of Catherine the Great in 1762.
The Orlov Diamond is on the Imperial gold scepter. The Orlov weighs 189.62 carats.

Most agree that the stone was found at the famous Golconda deposits in India in the late sixteenth or early seventeenth century. It was probably part of a larger crystal that split off along the plane of the cleavage. The weight of this larger crystal was thought to be about 400 carats.
The Shah Diamond was originally called the "Prince's Stone" or "Solitaire of Hosrev-Mirza".

The Shah diamond weighs 88.70 carats. The diamond has a light yellowish-brown tint. Legend has it that the stone hung on a silk cord over the throne of the rulers of India.
The Table Portrait Diamond known as the "Tafelstein", is considered to be the largest specimen of table diamond in the world. The 25-carat stone is 4 x 2.9 cm and 2.5 mm deep. The Portrait Diamond Bracelet is of neo-gothic form, made in the second quarter of the nineteenth century, and bears a miniature watercolour portrait of Emperor Alexander I. It is painted on ivory from a portrait by the English painter George Dawe.

The Maria Alexandrovna Sapphire Brooch. The deep-blue Ceylonese Sapphire weighs 260.37 carats and is set in a high mount of gold filigree decorated with diamonds.
The Columbian Emerald weighing 136.25 carats.

Large and pure oval chrysolite from the island of Zaberget in the Red Sea. The name "chrysolite" comes from the Greek word meaning "gold stone". It weighs 192.60 carats. Chrysolites have been known and valued since antiquity.