Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Tiara Tuesday: Pretty in Pink at a Russian Imperial Wedding

The diamond, that is. This 10-carat pink, the chief stone in the Russian Nuptial Tiara, is likely of Brazilian or Indian origin. It came into the Russian Crown Jewels under Tsar Paul 1, only son of the short-reigning Peter III and the very long-reigning Catherine the Great (or her son by her lover). The tiara was made for Paul's incoming daughter-in-law around 1800, not long before Paul was assassinated (yes, the Imperial Family had rather a violent soap opera going on around that time). 

The diamond's worth today would be in the tens of millions, quite apart from all the other diamonds surrounding it.  A recent auction of a pink diamond of similar size revealed a 400% increase in price over only 9 years, and that's without any illustrious history.  

The pink is not the only fabulous gem among the Russian Crown Jewels collection. The Treasury also boasts the Seven Great Stones:
  • Orlov diamond – 189.62 carats. It dates back to the late 16th or early 17th century and comes from India. Huge as it is, it is probably only part of a larger, 400-carat crystal. It was given to Catherine the Great by her former lover Count Orlov. 
  • Shah diamond 88.7 carats. This stone’s light yellowish-brown tint comes from microscopic cracks filled with brownish iron oxide. Its bears the names of three former rulers of India and Persia, in Arabic, first inscribed on the diamond in 1591. The Shah of Persia gave it to the Romanovs in 1829. 
  • Portrait diamond bracelet, 25 carats. This is the largest known table-cut diamond in the world and bears a portrait of Tsar Alexander I painted on ivory in the latter part of the 19th century.
  • Catherine the Great’s red spinel, attached to the Imperial Crown of Russia, 398.72 carats. This comes from China in 1676. Like some other famous spinels, it was originally thought to be a ruby.
  • Ceylon Blue Sapphire, 260.37 carats. This beautiful stone is set in gold filigree and mounted with diamonds.
  • Colombian emerald, 136.25 carats (27.250 g) 
  • Olive-green chrysolite, 192.6 carats. This came from the island of Zaberget in the Red Sea.
For a fuller discussion of Russian Imperial Regalia, go here

For the rest of the wedding day finery of a Russian Imperial bride, there's an excellent essay (with photos) at The  Royal Order of Sartorial Splendor   Pity the poor young women weighted down by so much history, tradition, and jewellery. 

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