Kremlin Exhibits Famous Jewellery

The Kremlin's Dormition Belfry is hosting an exposition, Russian Diamonds: 20th Century. It has two sections--Diamonds in the Faberge Era, and Diamonds in the Russian Avant-Garde Art. Russia's oldest jewel depository has never before offered shows to demonstrate two contrasting aspects of that exquisite craft--classical and avant-garde--at once, Alexei Levykin, the Kremlin Museums' research supervisor, remarked at the opening gala. The show continues a sequence of expositions on a cultural programme, Traditions and Contemporaneity, launched by the Kremlin museum-preserve in 1990, he added. The historical section illustrates an outstanding role of diamonds in the Russian Royal pageantry of the 17th-20th centuries. One of the two most spectacular exhibits is a cross made by the Ovchinnikov Co. jewellers in 1885 in imitation of Peter the Great's ceremonial cross. The other is a costume worn by Nicholas II, Russia's last Emperor, at a fancy-dress ball. It copies the festive array of his ancestor, Tsar Alexis Mikhailovich, with 17th century Royal insignia, and has 390 diamonds on it. Of great interest are miniature replicas of coronation regalia, currently preserved at the Russian Diamond Fund. Staff jewellers of the federal Jewel and Valuables Depository made another masterpiece for the show, a copy of Empress Alexandra's renowned rose brooch, which has not come to this day. The copy has more than 1,400 Russian diamonds on it. The contemporary part of the exposition displays 32 unique jewels.

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