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Rare 1925 Catalog of Romanov Jewels Now Available to Public

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(Press Release)
CARLSBAD, CA – One of the few surviving copies of a Bolshevik-era catalog of royal jewels seized during the Russian Revolution is available to the public for the first time as part of a digitization project by GIA’s Richard T. Liddicoat Gemological Library and Information Center. The catalog, along with more than 200 other rare and historically significant books on gems and jewelry, is accessible at archive.org.

“Following the emperor’s overthrow in 1917, noted mineralogist A.E. Fersman, with help from experts and jewelers including Agathon Fabergé, was tasked with photographing and cataloging Russia’s regalia and crown jewels,” said Dona Dirlam, director of GIA’s library. “In 1925-26, the Bolshevik government published ‘Russia’s Treasure of Diamonds and Precious Stones’ with the intention that the 406 Romanov jewels featured would never be sold. Eventually several of the pieces went to auction; approximately 20 copies of the Fersman catalog are known to exist today.”

The jewels featured in the Fersman catalog were collected by the Romanov dynasty, beginning with the reign of Peter the Great in 1689 until the overthrow of Emperor Nicolas II in 1917. Among the 406 treasures are the Imperial Sceptre set with the 189-carat Orlov diamond, the Imperial Globe set with a 200-carat sapphire, the Great Imperial Crown, the Imperial Nuptial Crown, chains, stars, crosses, emblems, diadems, necklaces, brooches, rings and earrings as well as loose diamonds, emeralds, sapphires, rubies, spinels, pearls and alexandrites.

Attendees of the 2016 annual meeting of the Geological Society of America in Denver can learn more about the catalog during a special poster presentation by GIA’s librarians on Sept. 27 at the Colorado Convention Center.

More than 200 important works, including studies related to minerals, gems, and jewelry, are now downloadable for free through the GIA library digitization project.

More information on the newly available catalog is available here.

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