The Diamond Fund of the USSR
THE DIAMOND FUND OF THE USSR (EN: The Diamond Fund of the USSR; DE: Diamantenfonds der UdSSR; FR: Fonds diamantaire de l'URSS; ES: Fondo de diamantes de la URSS; RU: Алмазный фонд СССР) is the collection of the unique precious gemstones, gold and platinum nuggets, jewellery, which have the historical, artistic, and material value.
The pre-history of the diamond fund of the USSR belongs to the epoch of the tsar Peter I, when he has included in 1719 during the organization of the Collegium of State Income into its charter the section "About the things, which belong to the state" (there have been included into the list of them the symbols of the state power: globus cruciger, crown, scepter, key, and sword). The crown treasures were located during the after-Peter time in the specially protected rooms of the Winter Palace in the St. Petersburg city, which were called the Diamond chamber since 1839. The collection of the crown treasures was supplemented continuously in the 18-19 centuries, especially during the rule of the empress Elizabeth I and empress Catherine II. The collection has been transported to Moscow into the Armory chamber of the Kremlin in association with the start of the 1st World War of 1914-18. The crown treasures have been transferred in 1922 into the State Repository of the Treasures of the RSFSR.
The best samples of the jewellery and unique precious gemstones have been selected by the commission under the leadership of A.E.Fersman, evaluated, described, and included into the collection of the Russian Diamond Fund (the diamond fund of the USSR since 1924). There has been organized in 1925 in the House of Unions in Moscow the 1st exhibition of the treasures of the diamond fund of the USSR. There has opened on the 50th anniversary of the Soviet State (1967) in the Moscow Kremlin the exhibition of the diamond fund of the USSR (it is working continuously since 1968).
There are kept in the diamond fund the jewellery and tsarian regalia with the brilliants, emeralds, sapphires, rubies, pearls, chrysolites, topazes, and others, including the works by the famous artists-jewellers of Russia (Pfisterer, I.Posier, L.J.Duval and J.Duval, and others), Russian pre-revolutionary and foreign order insignias, which are made of the precious metals and gemstones. There are the unique so-called seven historical stones: the "Orlov" diamond (189.62 carats), colourless with the subtle greenish-bluish tinge, faceted as the high Indian rose (about 180 facets) in the gold scepter, which has been crafted at the start of the 1770s; the uncut octahedral, strongly elongated "Shah" diamond (88.7 carats) with the slightly ground facets, with three Persian inscriptions on them, with the groove for the hanging of the stone; the largest in the world flat portrait diamond (the thickness is 2.5 millimetres, the area is 7.5 square centimetres, the mass is approximately 25 carats) of the irregular triangular shape, which is inserted into the gold bracelet with the coloured enamel (the 1st quarter of the 19th century), there is laid under the diamond the miniature portrait of the emperor Alexander I; the dark red polished spinel (398.72 carats) of the irregular shape, in the setting with the brilliants in the shape of the stalk with the flowers and leaves, which is secured under the brilliant cross in the large imperial crown, which has been crafted by Posier in 1762 for the coronation of the empress Catherine II; the velvety-green transparent Colombian emerald (136.25 carats, the size is 3.6x3.25 centimetres), which is inserted into the brooch, which has been crafted in the 19th century; the faceted (one of the best ones) Ceylon sapphire (258.8 carats) of the thick cornflower-blue colour with the satin tinge, which is inserted into the brooch, which has been crafted in the 19th century; the olive-green faceted peridot (5.2x3.5x1.1 centimetres) of the rare size (192.6 carats). There is the unique pinkish-crimson rubellite (tourmaline) in the shape of the vine, which is known as the "Big Ruby" or the "Ruby of the Caesar."
The diamond fund was supplemented during the years of the Soviet government with the large named diamonds from the kimberlite pipes of Yakutia: "XXVI Congress of the Communist Party" (332 carats), "Star of Yakutia" (232.10 carats), "60 years of the Komsomol" (200.74 carats), "Revolutionary I. Babushkin" (171.15 carats), "The Great Initiative" (135.12 carats), "60 years of the October" (121.66 carats), "Professor Odintsov" (119.55 carats), "Ursa Major (Great Bear)" (114.37 carats), "Maria" (105.98 carats), "Moscow Olympics 80" (104.61 carats), "Security officer" (95.03 carats), "Progress" (80.66 carats) "50 years of the USSR" (71,50 carats) and others, with the largest emeralds of Urals, including the "Nice Ural one" (3369.5 carats).
There are unique in the collection: the gold nuggets of the Urals, namely, the "Big Triangle" (36015.7 grams, 1842), "Horse's Head" (13776.6 grams, 1936), "Small Tyelginsky" (9339.0 grams, 1935), "Hare's ears" (3344.3 grams, 1935), "Christmas tree" (199.9 grams, 1952); of the Siberia, namely, the "Giant of Bodaibo" (12337.8 grams, 1957), "Dolphin" (10040 grams, 1958), "Camel" (9288 grams, 1947), "Chaff" (2957.6 grams, 1946), "Triangle" (1182.5 grams, 1946), "Bootee" (915.25 grams, 1968), "Mephistopheles" (20.25 grams, 1944), and others; the platinum nugget "Ural giant" (7860.5 grams), and others.
There is presented in the diamond fund the exposition of the rough Yakut diamonds and charoite, of the Ural diamonds, emeralds, amethysts, aquamarines, alexandrites, rubellites, topazes, jaspers, malachite, rhodonite, Ukrainian topazes and beryls, transbaikalian nephrites, lapis lazuli, and others, and also the exposition of the Soviet diamonds (more than 4.5 thousand carats), of the highest insignias of the military distinction, namely, the "Victory" platinum insignia with the ruby and brilliants, and the marshal gold star with the brilliants, the numerous jewellery-artistic handicrafts.
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