We consider the season for big journeys and small trips to be open. What does Europe have to offer diamond lovers?
It turns out that on our continent you can admire some of the most magnificent collections and, thanks to the stones, discover the history of the largest empires.
We invite you on a unique journey through Moscow, London and Paris, following the trail of the greatest diamonds in the world. In the first part we go east, where we will have a closer look at the fabulous collection hidden in the armory of Moscow’s Kremlin.
Upon arrival in Moscow, our goal is to visit the extraordinary Diamond Exhibition (Almazny Fond). The exhibition was opened in 1968. Among the items there are priceless masterpieces of jewelry art from the period of the 18th–20th century, the insignia of power and one of the rarest and most precious jewels, including a huge collection of rough diamonds.
Let’s go back a few centuries in time and head straight to the Kremlin Armory, which is part of the Grand Kremlin Palace complex. This magnificent building, called the treasury museum, hides fabulous diamond exhibits that have been on permanent display for more than 50 years. From the very door we have no doubt that we are entering a truly royal world. The velvet carpets gently bend underfoot when one of the most precious stones ever excavated appears before us.
The Kremlin’s “Diamond Room” reveals to visitors one of the three greatest diamond collections in the world, comparable only to those in Tehran and London.
The breathtaking exhibition opens with the crown of Empress Catherine the Great dating from the mid-18th century, decorated with 4,936 diamonds and 75 pearls. This unique work of jewelry art was created in just two and a half months and is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful and magnificent insignia in the world.
Knowing about the empress’s love for precious stones, her lovers pampered the monarch with fabulous gifts. One of the gifts was the famous Orlov diamond, given to Catherine on her name-day by Grigory Orlov. As it turned out later, the 190 ct “trinket” from Orlov was bought earlier by the Empress, but because of the difficult situation in the country, she decided to keep the costly investment secret. In 1774, the stone was placed in the imperial scepter and can still be admired in this form.
Another unique jewel in the Moscow collections is Shah diamond discovered in India in the mid-15th century. Although it is not one of the largest (90 ct) or most beautiful stones in the exhibition, it is certainly one of the most unusual. The inscriptions on the stone revealing information about its three owners and the original coffin-like cut make Shah one of the most recognizable diamonds in the world.
An equally unique exhibit is a diamond from India cut in the form of a paper-thin glass cover which secures a miniature portrait of Emperor Alexander I placed in the center of an impressive bracelet! This 25 carat stone is considered to be the largest “flat diamond” in the world.
The exhibition in the Kremlin Armory is not only a collection of cut diamonds but also a powerful collection of over 900 raw stones, including a dazzling yellow diamond named after the 26th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. This 342.57 ct stone was mined in 1980 in Mir Mine and is the largest diamond ever mined in Russia (formerly the USSR).
Alexander Pushkin is exhibited next to it. Its 320 ct gives it second place in the ranking of the largest Russian stones. Found in December 1989 in the Udachnaya Mine, it has been in the hands of the Russians since the beginning and has never been put up for sale. The big three is closed by Creator, the third largest diamond from the former USSR. The 298.48 ct of raw beauty does not allow you to take your eyes off it.
The biggest, most interesting and most precious stones we have talked about are only the tip of a diamond mountain in Moscow. The Kremlin collection seems to be endless, and the wealth of items and the variety of exhibits are overwhelming. This is one of those places where you can go back again and again, to discover something new every time. Dazed by the glow of the “diamond chamber” in the Kremlin, we move west. Before us is London and the second of the most magnificent diamond collection in the world as well as the crown jewels in Paris.