At the beginning of his detailed inventory of 'Russia's Treasure of Diamonds and Precious Stones', published in 1925, Professor Fersman writes 'Russia's Diamond Treasure is composed of the best portion of the State-Jewels and Regalia, formerly the property of the Tsars'.
Two examples from this legendary Russian collection are offered in the following pages (lots 268 and 269), and perfectly exemplify the enigmatic, complex, and magical aspect of jewels from this country.
Accompanying these, are many other dates and styles of jewels that each represent the multi-faceted aspects of Russian workmanship that define the field. The jewels represent the great variety expressed throughout Russian jewellery while evoking all the buzzwords of the genre: delicate enamel-work, imperial portraits, noble European family commissions, Russian gemstones such as Ural alexandrite and Siberian amethyst, Fabergé and his workmasters, as well as rival jewellers such as Bolin and Britzin, and iconic designs such as snowflakes and eggs.
Apart from their diversity, these jewels all enjoy an innate desirability and popularity today, for notable reasons. They share a level of craftsmanship and delight in imaginative and intricate design, as the cufflinks fashioned in the miniature form of an artist's palette (lot 255). They have a history and tell a story, just as recognisable today as one hundred years ago, whether the end of a dynasty or the inspiration taken by a young girl from a frozen window pane (lot 261). Most tangibly however, just as the renaissance in popularity of antique jewels in general has been seen on the red carpets of Hollywood, so too the appeal of antique jewels, and antique Russian jewels, is universal. The pair of Siberian amethyst earpendants from the Imperial Collection may have been created one hundred and fifty years ago, and graced the ears of Empresses or Tsarinas through the centuries, yet they have transcended time and are as equally elegant and wearable today.