New exhibition "Jewelry industry of the USSR in 1930s-1970s" opened at Moscow's State Historical Museum on November 1. The jewelry, which Soviet people used to purchase for others and themselves, differed a lot from piece works by experimental jewelry factories. However, the popular Soviet jewelry was relatively inexpensive and relatively beautiful.
Needless to say that a few people in the Soviet Union could afford diamonds. However, a gold watch, for example, was never perceived as something outrageously expensive and very prestigious.
Tatiana Sizova, the author of the exhibition, told Pravda.Ru that the exhibits at the show are not just the examples of Soviet jewelry.
"The exhibits that we have here are samples of the massive industrial production. These are items of every-day beauty. Nothing of what you can see here was ordered with jewelry artists. All of these things were produced at the special workshop of the Moscow experimental factory or at special workshops of other large enterprises, where rare products were made. We have other, more traditional exhibits too - diamond and sapphire rings, gold brooches, malachite from Ural, and other things - but they do not make the center of the exhibition.
"The industrial jewelry items, which common Soviet people wore every day, is much more interesting. All of them are not hand-made - they were made with the help of machines, mechanical devices and so on. Any Soviet citizen could afford this type of jewelry. People could even afford gold watches because they were considered comfortable for wearing and relatively inexpensive. All earrings, charms, brooches, sets of earrings and rings, necklaces with ambers, silver, glass and even plastic, were quite affordable for many. It's important to see the difference between a sapphire platinum ring made by the First Experimental Plant and a ring made by another Moscow factory in a stamping shop - a silver ring with crystal or any other ornamental stone. A jewelry item like that cost 60 rubles, whereas the monthly salary of a Soviet engineer was 120 rubles.