Thursday, 27 January 2022

Jewels of the Romanovs

In 1719, Tsar Peter the Great founded the earliest version of what is now known as the Russian Federation's State Diamond Fund.
He placed all of the regalia in this fund and declared that the state holdings were inviolate, and could not be altered, sold, or given away.
The Romanovs had one of the most impressive jewellery collections ever assembled. None can match the former splendor of the Romanov Court. The House of Romanov was the second imperial dynasty, after the Rurik dynasty, to rule over Russia, reigning from 1613 until the abdication of Emperor Nicholas II on March 15, 1917, as a result of the Revolution. Emperor Nicholas II and many members of his extended family were executed by Bolsheviks in 1918. It is believed that no family member survived, ending the main line definitively.
1913 poster proclaiming the 300th anniversary of the Romanov dynasty
The Soviets looted the Romanov collections of art, jewelry, furniture and books. In the 1920s and ’30s foreigners could browse and buy the treasures from the Communist government. Much of the Romanov legacy (including Faberge eggs and other treasures) were broken up, melted down and sold for scrap – with the proceeds disappearing.

Photograph of the Romanov treasures taken by the Bolsheviks.

The Empress Maria Feodorovna
The family’s former possessions regularly turn up on the auction market.

In November 2013 at a sale of Romanov books and memorabilia in London, a batch of 1910s postcards that Nicholas and Alexandra’s four daughters sent to a friend brought $30,000.
A pearl-and-diamond earring from the room where Nicholas Romanov and his family were murdered. It belonged to Czarina Alexandra and was found at the Russian Orthodox Church in New York.





Wednesday, 26 January 2022

Napoleon’s Talisman


It made $2m at auction.
Napoleon’s talisman was commissioned in 1800 after his Egyptian campaign. The talisman was lost in the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. During his retreat from the battlefield, his abandoned personal carriage was captured by a Prussian major. Deeply superstitious, Napoleon spent two years planning the intricate design of the jewels in the piece. Napoleon’s sphinx was dug up just after WWII in Noordwijk in the Netherlands, around 200 km from the Waterloo Battlefield.
The jewels are arranged in a secret code. The pattern of 21 rubies and a blank hole correlates to the ancient Egyptian Tarot code. This Tarot code had its genesis in the Egyptian mystery schools of approximately 1500 BC. The Tarot code was based on a numbered system of 21. The crystal sphinx has both Napoleon Bonaparte’s and Josephine Bonaparte’s initials coded into the design.

Tuesday, 25 January 2022

The Mughal Empire in Gold and Gems

The Mughals were descendants of the Central Asian conqueror Timur (known in the West as Tamerlane) and the Mongol ruler, Genghis Khan. The Mughal Empire, which at its peak spanned modern-day India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, was established by Zahiruddin Muhammad Babur, who invaded India in 1526.

The Mughals ruled for over three centuries before the arrival of the British in 1858.



The Timur ruby (also Khiraj-i-alam, "Tribute to the World") is an unfaceted, 361-carat polished red spinel gemstone set in a necklace in 1853

Crown of the Emperor Bahadur Shah II, the last Mughal emperor. 1850. Gold, turquoises, rubies, diamonds, pearls, emeralds.

Carved emerald circular box. Mughal India circa 1635.

Turban ornament. 1700-1750. Wearing plumes in a turban indicated royal status in Mughal India.
Treasures were encrusted with rubies, diamonds and emeralds and set in gold using the kundan technique, a typically Indian method of setting gemstones without the use of bezels and prongs.

Emerald is 217.80 carats and dates to 1695-1696. It is the largest inscribed Mughal emerald known.

Kundan set eagle pendant. Rubies, diamonds, pearls, enamel.

Mughal parrot finger ring (c.1600–1625) It is set with rubies, emeralds, diamonds and a single sapphire.

Bird Finger Ring (17th century). Gold, rubies, emeralds, turquoises.
The reign of Shah Jahan, the fifth emperor, was the golden age of Mughal architecture. He erected several large monuments, the most famous of which is the Taj Mahal at Agra, as well as the Moti Masjid, Agra, the Red Fort, the Jama Masjid, Delhi, and the Lahore Fort.

The Mughal Empire reached it's zenith during the reign of Aurangzeb.
Pendant in the form of an eagle, 18th century. Gold, cast and chased, set with foiled diamonds, rubies, emeralds, and sapphires in gold.

Gold and enamel belt buckle in two pieces with inlaid diamonds. Enamel decoration on reverse of tiger attacking a boar. Rectangular element with small round ring through which oblong ring fits. Hook is attached to this. Enamel tiger attacking a deer in foliage on reverse.

Gold, pearl, ruby, diamond and enamel squatting duck on a stand.
Gold and enamel figurine of an elephant with large natural baroque pearl forming its back and diamonds on its head.
A carved emerald flask with stopper, India, circa 18th century. The body of faceted hexagonal form, cut and carved on each face with a floral stem, the stopper carved with eight stylised leaves and a star design to the top.

Dress archery ring of Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan. Second quarter of the 17th century. Gold set with carved and polished uncut diamonds, rubies and emeralds.
An Imperial Mughal spinel necklace with eleven polished baroque spinels for a total weight of 1,131.59 carats. Three of the spinels are engraved. Two with the name of Emperor Jahangir (1569-1627), one with the three names of Emperor Jahangir, Emperor Shah Jahan and Emperor Alamgir, also known as Aurangzeb.

Portrait of Mumtaz Mahal (Arjumand Banu Begum). She was the favourite wife of the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. She died shortly after giving birth to her fourteenth child in 1631. The following year the emperor began work on the mausoleum that would house her body. The result was the world-famous Taj Mahal.
A Mughal masterpiece. The necklace features five pendant Golconda diamonds with emerald drops. The central stone weighs 28 carats and is the largest table-cut diamond known. The five surrounding stones—weighing 96 carats, collectively—comprise the largest known matching set of table-cut diamonds. From the 17th century.

A rare Mughal pale green jadeite snuff bottle. 1800-1900. The translucent stone is of pale icy green tone. 2 in. (5 cm.) high, pink tourmaline stopper and bone spoon.