The Order of St. Andrew-the-First Called was founded by Peter the Great in 1696. Originallya military Order, it was the highest distinction in Russia, only bestowed upon men who distinguished themselves in military service for their country. Its motto was For faith and Loyalty. The Tsar himself was only the 6th Knight of the Order. As from the mid-18th century, with the upsurge of further Orders (St. Alexander Nevski, St. Catherine), it became essentially a Family order, each member of the Imperial Family receiving it upon his baptism. It was also the highest Order bestowed upon foreign monarchs and foreign and russian dignitaries until the end of monarchy in Russia.
The chains and badges of the Order were usually enamelled. In the 18th century however, it was customary to embellish the insignia, often by the bearer himself. Tsar Paul I put a stop to this practice of personal stylish adornment. In his Statutes of the Orders of the Russian Empire 1797 he decreed that henceforth it should be forbidden to embellish Orders with precious stones, unless granted by the Emperor as a special distinction. The Order which had only one class thus was subdivided, the jewelled version being granted as a special favour.
Based on style, this Order can be dated to the middle of the 19th century.
The lack of hallmarks is not unusual as such rare orders were directly ordered by the Imperial Cabinet on behalf of the Tsar from russian jewellers. Such russian badges and stars of the Order of St Andrew appear extremely rarely at auction - For a badge of the Order see Christies Geneva 11 May 1983, lot 186.