In March of 2012, workers restoring a building in St. Petersburg found a hoard of over 1,000 pieces of silver, jewelry and precious objects hidden in a secret storage space between two floors. The items were wrapped in newspaper that dated from the early months of 1917, around the time of the February Revolution which toppled the last Tsar of Russia, Nicholas II. The building was a palace which had belonged to one of Russia’s most prominent noble families, the Naryshkins.
As World War I pushed Russia to the brink of it’s resources, and it’s large army was led to ruinous battles by a lack of leadership, the Russian ruble was driven into deep recession and the Russian people were driven into starvation. In March of 1917, the Tsar was overthrown and forced to abdicate and the nobility of Russia fled to other parts of the world or were imprisoned or sent to Siberia. Tsar Nicholas and his family were taken away and eventually detained in a house in Yekaterinburg where they were brutally murdered in the basement in the wee hours of July 17, 1918. When the bodies were searched, the guards found jewelry, gems, and strings of pearls sewn into their clothing.
This fantastic bracelet was made in Russia in about 1914, only a few years before the Revolution. Was it made for nobility? Did it ride out of Russia in the early days of 1917 sewn into the lining of a fur coat? Was it discovered hidden in a wall or under a floor, dug up by an unsuspecting farmer? I don’t know, I don’t guess we’ll ever know. I purchased it in London from a lovely lady who purchased it in Poland. It’s probably gone through more than a few hands since it’s creation, graced more than a few wrists.
This fabulous bracelet was hand crafted by a master craftsman and is bezel set with a fabulous bright blue antique cushion cut, 3 carat natural sapphire which shows no signs of enhancement. The stone weight was estimated in the mounting. It is further set with 18 full cut and 48 rose cut diamonds which add up to approximately 3.12 carats total weight. This piece is fully hallmarked with Russian marks and these marks indicate it’s metal fineness at 14 karat gold, the stones are set in platinum. The gold has a rosy hue, the metals were also acid tested to verify content. This bracelet is 7 inches long and weighs 15.6 grams. The overall face measures 46.1 mm from north to south and narrows to 3 mm wide at the back. There is a slot catch with safety clasp. This piece comes with a full appraisal and is valued at $45,000, it also includes an AGL certification which reports that the sapphire is unheated and untreated and is Ceylon in origin.
This fantastic Russian beauty makes me wish (not for the first time) that jewelry could talk. What a tale it would have to tell. If you feel you need a mesmerizing jewel with an important past that you can wear for now and sew into the lining of your yoga pants if the Bolsheviks should rise up yet again, this stunning bracelet would certainly be an excellent choice!
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Item ID: BTA20155VA