A little over 100 years ago, The Russian imperial Romanov family was murdered for the cause of the Russian revolution. The royal family’s extraordinary wealth is no secret. They were, and still are, known for their breathtaking diamonds and fine jewelry collection. It is said that the Romanov jewels were some of the finest in the world, and their collection was limitless as they have been amassing pieces from 1613 to 1917. Today jewelry is worn as a form of self expression, in those times it was a symbol of power.
All of their personal property, including palaces and jewelry were confiscated by the new Soviet government. However, some important pieces from their jewelry collection have been said to have gone missing, and have yet to be located to this day.
While there are no traces of many of their breathtaking pieces, a few are currently available to be seen in the various museums in the Kremlin. Here we present you with five very special pieces from their collection that suffered different fates:
1. The imperial crown of Russia
The Great Imperial crown was used by all of the Russian monarchs. It was created for Catherine II by court jeweller George Friedrich Eckart and diamond craftsmen Jerimiah Posier in the quick time span of 2 months. The crown is embellished with 4’936 diamonds (2’858 carats), a 398.72 carat spinel, and 75 large Indian matte pearls. It is said to be kept in the private areas of the Kremlin, not available to view as this symbolic piece is too valuable. However, a replica has been created and it is currently being displayed.
2. 'The Russian Beauty’ diadem
Made in 1842 by court jeweller Carl Bolin for the wife of Nicholas I, it was however a favourite piece of the Empress of Russia Maria Feodorovna. She loved it so much that she decided to keep it in her chambers, but when her son Nicholas II and his family were murdered in 1919, she fled the country bringing with her this diadem among other jewelry. Unfortunately the Bolsheviks confiscated all of it.
As the story goes this diadem was sold to Christies in 1927, who later sold it to the 9th Duke of Marlborough, giving it to his second wife. After her passing in 1977, the tiara ended in the hands of the first lady of the Philippines: Imelda Macros. When she and her husband fled to Hawaii in 1986 the diadem and the entire Macros’ jewelry collection was confiscated by the authorities. Today, it is still believed to be in the possession of the government of the Philippines.
3. Maria Feodorovna’s Kokoshnik diadem
Known as the only diadem left from the Romanov collection in Russia, this diadem survived the revolution, and is now one of the major pieces in the Kremlin's museum. This one of a kind diadem belonged to Empress Maria Feodorovna, the wife of Paul I.
The diadem contains various different cuts of diamonds and sizes: old mine cut diamonds, and briolettes which are movable and twinkle at the slightest of movement. In the center lies a rare pink diamond weighing 13.35 carats.
4. Pearl and Sapphire choker
This sapphire, diamond and pearl choker was another piece from Maria Feodorovna’s collection which was sold off at an auction. It was allegedly bought by Queen Mary and then inherited by Queen Elizabeth II. Here, Princess Anne is seen wearing the choker at a gala the day before Prince William’s wedding.
5. A sapphire brooch with a diamond bow.
This one of a kind brooch was recently discovered in the American USGS Library. Along with this brooch, researchers also discovered images of a sapphire bracelet, a sapphire and diamond tiara and an emerald necklace: these images also appeared in the 1922 album “Russian Diamond Fund”, but not in the official documentation of the Russian Crown Jewels.
Researchers claim that this brooch was sold in a private auction in London in 1927. The location of this and the other lost items is yet to be discovered.
64Facets is always eager to create bespoke pieces for our clients, if you would like to commission your own one of a kind tiara or choker, do not hesitate to contact us.