These charming bodice ornaments once formed part of the magnificent collection of Russian Crown Jewels, some of which date back to Peter The Great (1672-1725) which glorified the wealth and power of the Romanov Dynasty.
After the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, the Crown Jewels were confiscated having been stored in nine huge strong boxes, which came to light for the recesses of the Moscow Armoury Hall.
During 1922 the intensive job of listing and photographing everything took almost four months and was conducted by five of Russia's leading jewellers, under the guidance of the well known mineralogist Prof. A E Fersman assisted by S N Troinitzky the director of the Hermitage Museum and A N Benois, a well known art critic and painter.
Their work formed part of an illustrated inventory published in 1925 titled "Russia's Treasure of Diamonds and Precious Stones". Some of the collection was sold to a consortium of British and American buyers, whose identity is unknown. One hundred and nineteen of the jewels sold to this syndicate were offered for sale by Christie's in London on 16 March 1927 at a sale entitled "An Important Assemblage of Magnificent Jewellery, mostly dating from the 18th century, which formed part of The Russian State Jewels".
It is to be noted that while the brooch on the right in the photograph is identical to one of the brooches now being sold, the other appears to be slightly different. The same buyer, named Foune's in the archives book purchased both lots 36 and 37: the description of lot 36 was 'A Pair of Diamond Floral Sprays', and lot 37 'A Set of Three ditto'. The disparity between the 1927 illustration and the two brooches now being offered for sale, is probably due to the purchase by the same buyer of all five brooches, of which only two were illustrated.
Cf. Russia's Treasure of Diamonds and Precious Stones, Moscow, 1926, Part 4, No. 188, p. 22
Cf. Lord Twining, A History of the Crown Jewels of Europe, Batsford, 1960, pp. 530-531, 553-554