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Sotheby's to auction period Russian jewellery on Nov 17

Oct '05
A diamond necklace - Russian Imperial family
Auction house SOTHEBY'S is delighted to be able to offer for sale one of the most historically important jewels to have come onto the market in recent years.

The diamond necklace, from the collection of the Russian Imperial family, is estimated to fetch Sfr. 1,500,000-2,500,000 (£665,000-1,108,000/$1,176,000-1,960,600) and is set to be the star of Sotheby's Magnificent Jewels sale in Geneva on Thursday, November 17, 2005.

The stunning diamond necklace with a detachable diamond bow clasp, is a rare survivor of the 18th century, when jewels were usually broken up to produce new jewellery in the latest styles. Its survival, in its original state, is almost unheard of outside royal or museum collections.

Daniela Mascetti, Head of Sotheby's Jewellery department in London stated that they are delighted to have this unique opportunity to present - not only such an impressive jewel in its own right - but one that encapsulates the luxury and grandeur of the Russian royal court. Its history, survival, beauty and quality, make this a truly exceptional piece.

In 1719 Peter I (1682-1725), known as 'Peter the Great' created The Russian State Diamond Fund to house a collection of jewels that would belong to the Russian state for the permanent glory of the Russian Empire. Peter demanded that each Empress or Emperor bequeath a certain number of pieces acquired during their reign to the state.

During the reign of Catherine II 'the Great' (1762-1796), extravagance reached standards experienced neither before, nor since. She employed the skills of the best French and Swiss jewellers, such as Posier and Duval and consequently added the largest number of jewels to the Imperial Collection.

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