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Russian Jewelry

The history of Russian gold dates back to the 10th century, when Grand Duke Vladimir of Kiev decided to bring a new faith to his pagan subjects. He considered introducing Islam, but rejected it because of the prohibition of alcohol. In search of the most suitable religion, the prince's envoys went to Constantinople and on their return described the visit: "We did not know whether we were in heaven or on earth, because on earth there is no such beauty and such splendor as we are at a loss how to describe it.

We only know that god dwells there among men and their service fairer than ceremonies of other nations." This interest in Byzantine culture and the introduction of Orthodoxy in Russia had a great influence on the art and Russian court jewelry, its splendor, richness, and use of specific colors.

In the 16th century, all over Europe and also in Russia, magnates collected colored gemstones and believed in their healing powers. Tsar Ivan the Terrible described his collection of rubies, emeralds and sapphires as "the most comfortable keepsake for the heart, brain and vigour of man". Also Tsar Peter the Great was well aware that surrounding oneself with jewelry, especially diamonds more than anything else showed the world the power of Russia. Goldsmiths and jewellers especially flourished in the 18th century thanks to the women who sat on the Russian throne at that time and their great love of jewelry. Empress Elizabeth I changed her dresses ten times a day and needed a different set of jewelry for each one, so the jeweller Jeremy Pause, who supplied her with these jewels, gained a high position at her court and even became her confidante. They had a fairly close relationship, but as we know from his diaries, it was platonic, as he cared about living up to the requirements of his Protestant religion. As the first jeweler and craftsman, Pause was also granted the privilege of free access to the imperial palace.

Russian Jewelry

Since the interest in jewelry was so great during this period and the demand for the precious objects produced was still growing, many talented artists were able to enter the market at that time. More and more often the name Faberge appeared in the salons. Thus, for her diamond jubilee, Queen Victoria received an exceptionally beautiful brooch as a gift from Emperor Nicholas that came from the Faberge workshop, and her account books also recorded purchases of brooches and other jewelry from the store. In 1885, Faberge earned the title of supplier to the imperial court and the right to display the imperial coat of arms on his store and on stamps for jewelry packaging.

The late eighteenth to mid-nineteenth century in Russia was the culmination of great jewelry fashion. Travelers visiting Russia at the time reported that jewels and precious stones were prominent in all elements of nobleman's attire. Thus, in the capital of Russia, then Saint Petersburg, there was enough space for 300 jewelry stores and on the main street Bolshaya Morskaya there were five of the most famous. Among others the store of the Bolin family (with a branch also in Moscow) was located there , which supplied jewelry already to Catherine the Great and seven subsequent rulers. There, in 1900, the young Carl Faberge who took over the company from his father, also set up his store. Faberge's works from this period turned out to be particularly interesting, and his craftsmanship and extraordinary skills were recognized in wide circles, so even Emperor Alexander III and his wife Maria Fedorovna decided to see them and make their first purchase in his store, which were cufflinks in the shape of cicadas.

The story of the famous Faberge eggs is particularly intriguing. Tsar Alexander III, asked Faberge to make an interesting gift for his wife Maria Fyodorovna, which would remind her of her Danish homeland and make her happy at Easter. It was then that the first "Imperial Easter Egg" was created. At first glance it looked ordinary, but inside it contained an elaborate surprise: a golden yolk with a ruby-eyed hen. Since then, in the workshops of Faberge every Easter was created a new egg - a gift. They were produced for the last Tsar Nicholas II and his wife Alexandra. For years, the history of this family has aroused great interest, as the Tsar and his wife were a beautiful couple, had five lovely children and seemed to be a very loving and united family.

The uniqueness of
Russian gold
The uniqueness of Russian gold and other jewelry work from that era will probably never be repeated, because in order for such exclusive pieces to be created, the patronage of the wealthiest of this world, such as Tsar Alexander II, was necessary. History has shown that these treasures were not only a symbol of the power of their owners, but also a valuable investment of capital, since they allowed many aristocrats and magnates to survive difficult times. The most famous jewelers employed their own craftsmen, often women, mainly widows, who often worked for them all their lives. Many precious products made at that time were lost during the revolution, while those that were preserved from those years are still gaining in value, and their prices at auctions increase significantly every year. However, after five generations of Romanovs from Queen Victoria to Queen Elizabeth II, only one collection survived the Russian Revolution. After the revolution, confiscated or found Russian jewelry was sold abroad. It was done, among others, by a famous jeweler named Katie, and a New York collector Mariorie Post was one of his best customers.
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