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.