The Hermitage has a considerable collection of jewellery, many
pieces formerly in the possession of royal and aristocratic
owners. The most important pieces are kept in the Special
Collection, which contains items kept in the Gallery of Objets
de vertu and Diamond Rooms of the Winter Palace in the 19th
century, and also pieces acquired from nationalized collections
in 1918. The remaining objects are dispersed among different
exhibitions and storage spaces in the museum.
The small but highly valuable collection of Renaissance works
is of great interest: among the rings, pendants and other works
is a unique emerald pendant in the form of a caravel made by a
Spanish jeweller in the last quarter of the 16th century.
A set of coral works made in the Sicilian town of Tapani dates
to the 17th century. Italian jewellers made peculiar sculptures,
cups and icons from copper, silver and bright vivid coral.
Most items in the Hermitage collection date from the 18th
century: snuffboxes, patch boxes, toilet sets, watches, fans,
perfume bottles, rings and other small and exquisite articles.
French jewellers had an outstanding command of various
materials and applied their virtuoso skills not only to gold and
precious stones, but also tortoiseshell, mother-of-pearl and
lacquer. Enamelling was particularly popular in the design of
A characteristic feature of English jewellers is superb chasing -
three-dimensional and elegant in design, with gentle transitions
between surface planes; this technique is used with particular
brilliance in a hand mirror (about 1760) which was a gift to the
Russian Empress Elizabeth from the Turkish Sultan Osman III.
The quality of craftsmanship in the treatment of precious
stones in English works of art was famous throughout Europe,
although rivalled by the skills of German jewellers. Saxon items
are easily distinguished by the peculiar brilliance of the stones
used, mainly amethysts, agate and chalcedony.
The collection of 19th-century jewellery - including many toilet
boxes, cigarette cases and ornamental clocks - is still being
added to through purchases and gifts. Among the Art
Nouveau objects are several works by the famous Rene Jules
If you enjoyed this collection, you might want to also visit
the other collections at the State Hermitage Museum.
jewellery and Glytpics
Western European Coins