The Resplendence of Russia
Russian emeralds were first discovered along the foothills of the Ural Mountains during the early 19th century, in the Malysheva region. Though initially, considered the property of the Tzar, in 1898, the mine was leased to an Anglo-French company to operate due to high maintenance costs. During this period, significant amounts of rough were being produced and exported to Europe, being incorporated into the jewels of historic and aristocratic collections.
Many of the finest emerald specimens on display in London’s National History Museum have acquisition labels dated in the mid-19th Century and originate from Malysheva. The Kochubey’s emerald, an 11,000 carat crystal of intense green color, now resides in the Museum of the Academy of Sciences in Moscow. Another 3,370 carat emerald called Glorious Ural Stone was discovered in 1978 and is now safeguarded at the State Treasury of Valuables. In 1990, the mine produced the 37.50 carat Vitaly emerald, one of the largest faceted gems from Russia. Earlier this year, a 7,500 carat gem was recovered from the Malysheva mine, an indication that Russian emeralds may once again reclaim a prime position in the emerald market.
Of rich green colour, strong saturation and crystal lucidity, Russian emerald mines have been known to produce gems of a very intense green, akin to the finest Colombian emeralds. Lot 1849, of matching bright green colour, intense saturation and impressive size, is intricately carved into a floral motif, decorated with briolette and antique cut diamonds, reminiscent of an era of Russian opulent luxury.
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