DescriptionImportant Tsar Alexander I Diamond and Enamel Imperial Presentation Bracelet
St. Petersburg, early 19th century, unmarked, possibly by the Théremin brothers
The center applied with crowned initial A for Alexander I Pavlovich, Emperor of Russia (r. 1801-1825), set with rose diamonds on an oval royal blue guilloché enameled plaque, surrounded by twelve graduated old mine-cut diamonds within an openwork diamond surround of scrolls set with old mine-cut diamonds framing two diamond clusters, each comprising a central old mine-cut diamond surrounded by nine old mine-cut diamonds, attached to a royal blue guilloché enamel and gold hinged bangle, diamond section may be detached to form a brooch-central enamel plaque with diamond surround-1 3/4 in. long; entire diamond section-2 1/4 in. wide. Total approximate weight of diamonds: 18.50 carats
Alexander I (1777-1825)
Russia's most enigmatic Tsar, Alexander reigned from 1801 to 1825. He was brought to power by a palace coup and reversed the reactionary course on which his murdered father, Paul I, had set Russia. The liberal first half of his reign came to an end when Napoleon invaded Russia in 1812. Alexander's defeat of the French marked one of the most glorious epochs of Russian history.
Set with the Tsar's crowned diamond initial, this bracelet of outstanding workmanship was presented by the Emperor at the turn of the 19th century. Although the recipient is as yet unknown (this may surface with archival research), bejeweled gifts bearing the cipher of the Sovereign were usually destined for members of the Russian or European nobility, people close to the Imperial family, and foreign court dignitaries. Although unmarked, the bracelet's crosshatched guilloché pattern, monogram design, and diamond settings are characteristics of the Russian workmanship of the Théremin brothers of St. Petersburg, court jewelers and members of the foreign masters guild who settled in Russia in 1793. For an Alexander I diamond ring of similar inspiration in the Hermitage Museum, see Gold of the Tsars: 100 Masterpieces of the Hermitage St. Petersburg, Stuttgart, 1995, p. 179. And for an Alexander I presentation box by Pierre Théremin, see Alexander von Solodkoff's Russian Gold and Silverwork, New York, fig. 194.
Few examples of Russian early 19th century Imperial jewelry ever appear on the market. No other comparable Alexander I bracelet seems to have surfaced at auction in the past 30 years.
Purchased from A la Vieille Russie
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