Monday, May 15, 2017

Jewel Collection of the Romanovs

In 1613 Michael Romanov, the first Tsar of the Romanov Dynasty was crowned.

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 of the current Houses, not even the British, 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.

Photograph of the Romanov treasures taken by the Bolsheviks.
The Empress Maria Feodorovna. is depicted wearing a parure in the famous portrait by Konstantin Makovsky.

Emperor Nicholas II and many members of his extended family were executed by Bolsheviks in 1918 and it is believed that no member survived, ending the main line definitively.
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 cultural treasures) were broken up, melted down and sold for scrap – with the proceeds disappearing.
Curators are now tracking down scattered imperial possessions. More material has recently surfaced from palaces and even the Romanov family’s assassination site at Yekaterinburg, Russia. A pearl-and-diamond earring rescued in 1918 from the crime scene. It belonged to Czarina Alexandra. It was long kept at the Russian Orthodox Church on Park Avenue at 93rd Street, New York.

Just one earring was retrieved from the evidence trail of carnage in the woods.

The family’s former possessions regularly turn up on the auction market. In November 2013 at a sale of Romanov books and memorabilia at Christie’s in London, a heartbreaking batch of 1910s postcards that Nicholas and Alexandra’s four daughters sent to a friend brought $30,000.