This unique map is located in the geological museum of Saint-Petersburg. It is made from gemstones in the Florentine and Russian mosaic technique. 45 000 gemstones 4-6 mm (0.15-0.23 inches) thick were used to make the panel of the map.
Click on the image for the full size.
This splendid mosaic is a monument to the imperial style of the former Soviet Union.
The Communist Party of the USSR decided to celebrate its twentieth anniversary by making a huge mosaic panel from gemstones.
“The map of The USSR industrialization” is the whole USSR in scale 1:1 500 000. The size of the map os twenty seven square meters, it is made from 50 000 fragments. The gemstones were being chosen to match the colors and sizes.
The great construction sites were all marked by gemstones.
The whole map was made in the shortest possible period of time – eleven months. About 700 stonecutters were working day and night. Soon it received the Grand Prix at the World Exhibition in Paris, then a gold medal in New York.
The work impressed all visitors of the exhibition. The masters precisely recreated reliefs of mountains and curves of rivers in proper colors and in accordance with their sizes. For some time they were trying to maintain the actual state of the map (changed borders after the war etc.) but soon stopped doing this.
After the war the map was exhibited in the Hermitage but soon they decided that precious construction sites didn’t have to be shown to various spies and the map was taken to the geological museum.
In 2006 the map underwent the first serious reconstruction.
Ural jasper was used to make the most of the reliefs on the map.
Low-lying areas of the land and river valleys are made from Ural amazonite from the Ilmen Mountains.
Water areas were made from lapis-lazuli.
The state border was marked by three layers of rhodonite.
The table of symbols was made from cacholong from Uzbekistan.
The glaciers on the peaks of the Pamir and Tien Shan mountains were made of precious opal deposits from Hungary.
The Northern sea route and some more areas were marked by 630 faceted aquamarines.
The expedition of I.D. Papanin “Northern Pole 1″ was shown by big Ural phenacite and Ukrainian topaz. The red flag was made from artificial rubies, the wrinkles on it were made from Karelian almandine.
The settlements were marked by gilded silver stars with artificial rubies; names of capitals of the Soviet Union republics were made from faceted emeralds.
Moscow was marked by the ruby star with a hammer and a sickle decorated with seventeen diamonds, the inscription “Moscow” itself was made from synthetic rubies, “Leningrad” – from alexandrites.
Lines of meridians, railways and all geographic names are made from gilded silver, borders of the republics were marked by artificial rubies.
Rock crystal was used to mark paper mills; smoky quartz and golden topaz was used to mark animal and vegetable raw materials processing plants and pipes; emeralds – to mark forest and timber industry factories.
Moonstone was used to mark chemical factories, synthitic rubies – to mark metallurgy and automobile industry.
White and black jasper were applied to mark deposits of various minerals.
It was nice to live in such a rich country!