Forty-six diamond ornaments


Catherine the Great commissioned Leopold Pfisterer to create this extraordinary set of diamond dress ornaments in 1764. Records show that originally there were more jewels in the set, and that they included both diamond and garnet components.

For attachment to the diamond-studded ornaments, the garnets were strung on threads that passed through small holes on the back of each ornament.

Forty-six diamond ornaments

 

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Forty-six diamond ornaments

St Petersburg, 1764
By Leopold Pfisterer
Brilliant-cut diamonds set in silver
Cory Bequest
V&A: M.95:1 to 46-1951

Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovitch dressed for a costume ball at the Winter Palace, St Petersburg, 1903

 

In 1903 Michael Alexandrovich, younger brother of Tsar Nicholas II, wore the diamond ornaments at a costume ball. They can be seen here, sewn along the front edge of his short-sleeved garment, or caftan.

The jewels were sold at auction in 1927, along with other items from the Russian crown jewels. But by then the set was no longer complete. The garnets had been separated, and the diamond ornaments reduced in number to 46.

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Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovitch dressed for a costume ball at the Winter Palace, St Petersburg, 1903



Photograph

Moscow Kremlin Museums