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Latest Articles - Luxury

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The Romanovs Jewels: Scandalous Fate

Sunday, 07 November 2010

The Romanovs JewelsIt often happens that an object of undisputable value is of little interest for the public, unless it is a part of some intricate scheme or an element of a bigger picture. This object may be forsaken in some obscure chest or glass case far from the public eye and be occasionally brought to light, and even admired, but without much vigor. If, however, it gets involved in some notorious criminal or - better even spy - plot, it immediately becomes the hot issue, and everybody wants to learn more about the object in question and is hungry for any detail. The story of the jewels of the Romanov Imperial House developed along these lines - while they were stored in the royal vaults, few knew and cared about them, but as soon as they disappeared, the imperial heirloom became a subject of countless speculations, legends and conspiracy theories.

As a matter of fact, the Romanovs jewelry became a hot topic only after the Romanovs had lost power and those who survived had fled to Europe leaving the royal treasures to the Bolsheviks who usurped the power. The history of the Russian jewelry goes back over one thousand years. However, it was not until Emperor Peter I the Great that real innovations and exchanges with the west changed Russian jewelry style forever. In 1719, Emperor Peter I founded the earliest version of what we now know as the State Diamond Fund of the Russian Federation. Peter I had visited other European nations, and introduced many innovations to Russia, one of which was the creation of a permanent fund to house a collection of jewels which belonged not to the Romanov family, but to the Russian State. Peter left all of the pieces used in the coronation ceremony to the Diamond Fund, as well as many important pieces of 15th, 16th and 17th century jewelry. The pieces were housed in a special secure room in the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg, first called the Renteria, and subsequently called the Diamond Chamber.

In 1914, with the threat of a possible German invasion due to World War I, the entire collection was carefully packed and sent from St. Petersburg to Moscow, where it was placed in vaults beneath the Kremlin for safety. But Russia's political troubles, including the Revolution in 1917 and the ensuing Russian Civil War made the history of the state jewels even more complicated. The jewels were forgotten for a time, and it was not until 1926 that they were found in the Kremlin, and the pieces opened, catalogued, and photographed in their entirety. An enormous selection of the pieces was sold to an American consortium, and the pieces, which comprised close to 70% of the original collections, were sold at Christie's Auction house in London in 1927. The pieces which were sold were dispersed all over the globe, and many of their locations are now unknown. In total, in 1920-1930 569 items from the Diamond Fund collection, which previously included 773 items, were sold.

The remaining pieces, which are the historically and artistically most important from the collections include the coronation regalia, and a spectacular collection of eighteenth and ninteenth century jewelry. The pieces went on display for the first time in 1967 as a commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the revolution, when they were displayed in a special vault beneath the Kremlin to high-ranking officials and foreign dignitaries. Since the fall of communism, the pieces are on display to the public, who can buy tickets to visit the Diamond Fund when they go to the Kremlin Armory Museum in Moscow, while the jewelry that has fallen into the hands of the Romanov descendants is auctioned off with regrettable regularity. For instance, in November 2009, Christie's auctioned nearly 100 «Romanov» items, with the starting price of 1 million pounds per item.

Last year, some British intelligence archives were declassified and revealed that in 1920 the Bolsheviks smuggled to England 40,000 pound worth of jewels. The money obtained from selling of the jewels was used to finance British leftist political parties. Smugglers were quite devious in fulfilling their task - first the jewels were smuggled to Sweden, and then delivered to England by regular mail disguised as a box of chocolate.

In addition, there is a conspiracy theory claiming that the jewelry of the Russian imperial house has been allegedly hidden somewhere in Ekaterinburg, a small town in the Ural where the last Russian tsar Nicolas II and his family were brutally murdered by the Bolsheviks. The Imperial family had carried their valuables, which included, among others, not less than a million gold rubles worth of jewels, with them from Tsarskoye Selo to Ekaterinburg. Yet in the aftermath of their murders, the officials of the Ural Regional Soviet were able to recover only a portion of what ought to have been there. This part of the Romanovs' wealth was transferred to Moscow and lodged in the treasury. This collection of items included the following: a platinum cigarette case, numerous gold chains, brooches, pendants and gemstones; silver tea and coffee services; gold and silver forks and spoons; men's and women's watches, etc.

The question of the missing Romanov treasure had confounded the Soviets for more than a decade. Retrieving these valuables became almost an obsession with the Soviet government; many of the objects were unique pieces of Russian art and craftsmanship, and could be considered part of the new nation's patrimony. They never emerged at any of the auctions or in private collections so some believers still treasure hope that the Romanovs jewelry is safely hidden and waiting to be unearthed.

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kjh   |2010-11-18 10:05:44
romanovs have got a noble girl baby.they sent the baby to rasputins relatives in the wine basket (under the botles) They were take her bulgaria and they were give her a turkish family(bektashi religions(she did not make,join rutiels all her lifelong)).the turkish family grove her.one day she maried and her husband and their 6 suns,2 douthers went in turkey 1953 and she died in turkey. she said again and again
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