Throughout Europe the sumptuousness of Russian decorations and badges was never disputed. There were so many of them and we can enjoy looking at these examples.
The Order of St Andrew was established in 1698 by Peter the Great in honor of Saint Andrew, the patron saint of Russia. This is the Russian Empire’s highest decoration. It was awarded to the members of the Imperial family and Russians who made extraordinary contributions to the Empire. The Star Badge is an impressive, enameled gold star studded with diamonds. This specimen of the order was made for Emperor Paul I and is held in the Diamond Fund, exhibited in the Kremlin Armoury in Moscow, Russia.
When a Lady-in-Waiting wore this diamond badge it signified that the Lady was in the service of Catherine II. This is a very stylish monogram that could be worn with great pride. It’s a beautiful jewel. Its current status is unclear.
The Order of Alexander Nevsky was founded by Peter the Great, but he died before the order was created. It was finally established by his wife Catherine I, in honor of Saint Alexander Nevsky, patron saint of St. Petersburg. In 1240, Alexander Nevsky fought the Teutonic knights, and from its creation in 1725, was given to those who had distinguished themselves in battle. It was only surpassed by the Order of St Andrew. This cross is covered with diamonds and the upper element is a lovely floral studded piece. The neck badge is from the collection of Emperor Paul I. It is held in the Diamond Fund, exhibited in the Kremlin Armoury in Moscow, Russia.
The bejeweled half circle is enchanting. It’s meant to be worn on a cap. I find it fascinating. It is held in the Diamond Fund, exhibited in the Kremlin Armoury in Moscow, Russia.
The Order of Saint Catherine was created by Peter the Great on the occasion of his marriage to Catherine I of Russia. It is in honor of Saint Catherine of Alexandria, the patron saint of Catherine I. She was the first Grand Mistress of the Order. Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna, who died in 1928, was the last Grand Mistress of this order. It is held in the Diamond Fund, exhibited in the Kremlin Armoury in Moscow, Russia.
The Order of St Anne was established as a Holstein ducal and then Russian imperial order of chivalry by Karl Friedrich, Duke of Holstein-Gottorp in 1735 in honor of his wife, Anna Petrovna, the first-born daughter of Peter the Great. When faced with lack of an heir, the Empress Elizabeth (second daughter of Peter the Great) turned to her sister Anne’s son, Peter of Holstein-Gottorp. He succeeded her as Emperor Peter III, husband of Catherine II. Peter made the Order of St Anne a Russian order and awarded it to his son, the future Emperor Paul I, who acceded to the Dukedom of Schleswig-Holstein-Gottorp in 1773. It is held in the Diamond Fund, exhibited in the Kremlin Armoury in Moscow, Russia.
Isn’t this Order of the Golden Fleece divine? Comprised of gold, diamonds, and pink topazes it’s at the top of my favorites list. This chivalric order, inspired by the quest of Jason and the Argonauts in Greek mythology, was created in the Middle Ages by Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy, and afterwards inherited by the kings of Spain and the Holy Roman Emperors. At this period, it was customary for sovereigns to exchange their most precious decorations. Thus, the Tsar sent the Order of St Andrew to the Holy Roman Emperor, who responded with the Order of the Golden Fleece. This highly coveted decoration, reserved for the most illustrious figures, evolved into a jewel of the highest value, set with diamonds and vibrant topazes. It is held in the Diamond Fund, exhibited in the Kremlin Armoury in Moscow, Russia.
Join me next Tuesday for a discussion on the floral jewelry of the Romanovs. Please tune in!