Lost Russian Treasures


Have you ever been captivated by the miniatures in pieces of art? Some masterpieces seem to be pure perfection. This is especially sad to learn that Russia had riches but lost them in hard times for the country. There were so many perturbations in the history of Russia that it is hard to determine which one was the most devastating. But nobody will argue that Russian revolution of 1917 was the most ruining event, which had a crucial effect upon the culture of Great Russian Empire. Many unique collections of valuable items which were cherished in the course of centuries by noble families just vanished from the country within several months. Their houses were nationalized by Bolsheviks, the palaces were ransacked. The Western market was oversaturated with antiques from revolutionary Russia at that time.

Fantastic items were dissolved in private collections abroad. Not able to put up with new regime, many Russians emigrated and took their valuable collections with them. Some items which were lost by Russia in those days still present value of universal importance. People collecting antiques are ready to pay millions at the auction for such things. Jeweled Faberge eggs are among these treasures, for instance Rothshild’s Faberge Egg was auctioned at Christie’s and was sold for £ 8,9 million. Russian imperial art is widely presented in the collection of the Hillwood Estate, Museum&Gardens, which is located in Washington, DC. Alongside with 80 Faberge pieces, one can find wonderfully decorated Imperial Catherine the Great Easter Egg.


Virginia Museum of Fine Arts contains a precious item – an egg made in rococo style, which was presented by last Russian Tsar Nickolas II to his wife. It dates back to 1903 and was created to mark the celebration of St. Petersburg foundation and is called Peter the Great Egg.



The special antiquarian style was formed in Russia in the 18th-19th century. It combined the style of ancient Russia, bright colors of enamel art, classic elements of icon writing. Sometimes the features of foreign school were borrowed too.


The pieces of art of Russian empire are presented in museums and private collections in different parts of the United States. Walters Art Museum in Baltimore was founded by the person who visited in the 1900 St Petersburg and got acquainted with Faberge collection.


Being in St Petersburg American collector Henry Walters found Russian antiques so amazing that acquired many pieces for his collection.



Like nowadays there was Faberge shop in Petersburg at Bolshaya Morskaya, 24 then which sold many wonderful pieces then. You can see the interior of the shop. There were other Faberge shops as well.




These decorative dishes date back to the 17th century. Peter the Great and his family are portrayed on the dish, which is of special interest to many Russian experts when they visit the museum.



The items tell us about history which is not written in the text-books. For instance, vase for aroma mix was made by French jeweler who lived in Russia at the second half of the 18th century. According to the legend, Catherine the Great presented it to her lover, Earl Grigory Orlov after she started to reign in Russia. There is even his monogram on the cover held by two angels.



Russian try to return back now most of the items lost at that period. For instance, the collection of Faberge eggs Malcolm Forbes collected was acquired by Victor Vekselberg and brought it back to Russia. The sum of the deal was estimated to be between 90 to 120 million dollars. It should be mentioned too that antiquarian business is very widespread in Russia as the history is rich and extraordinary. Antiquarian shops with marvelous items can be found in every ancient city.




Going back to Faberge collection, it should be said that the major part of Russian collection can be seen in the Kremlin Armoury, the oldest Moscow museum on the territory of the Kremlin.





Photo credits – 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12-15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21,22

17 thoughts on “Lost Russian Treasures”

  1. Yep communists ruined a lot, both art and crafts and human lifes. —Typical Russian even: create a revolution just for the sake of creating a revolution, and once it happens, they don’t know what’s next. Look at the disaster that happened to poor Russia. Millions got killed and injured for life [indoctrination], crushed in the cogwheels of a totalitarian, bankrupt and corrupted system. It’s still in the 70s in many aspects, even today. Its people forced to dance to the governments music. Actually, it’s still like that. The illusion of free market is already disappearing. When I was in berlin, I was amazed at the diferences with my hometown Astrakhan and Moscow. Even China, however sad to admit it, is much more succesful at making the turn to a controlled market economy that chaotic and corrupt Russia.

  2. It breaks my heart to look back and see the damage political turmoil has done to the Russian, Eastern European, Caucasus, Balkan, Siberian and other peoples and their culture. It is truly one of the great sorrows and losses of the world.

    I WAS grateful that my ancestors were able to escape to America, and avoid the impending doom and assured destruction of the Cossacks. However, governments are one thing not to be trusted in this world, as I now sit in America, once again afraid for my life, and the life of extended family. Governments change, countries change and politics will never last forever. Right now, I don’t trust the current political climate in North America.

    I have actually begun in the last decade to think of returning to Eastern Europe or Russia. Maybe there’s just no lasting peace for the common man in this world.

  3. spare me a dime please!
    you have the guts to complain about YOUR treasure not being recoverable? why the ***** don’t you write or take photos of all the treasures the Russian armies stole (yes, stole!) on their way back from Berlin in 1945-47? all the national treasures of Poland, Romania, Serbia and Hungary lie deep in who knows what God forsaken Moscow pit, and the Russian authorities denied any return in 50 years, and yet you have the guts to complain and draw people’s pity? put a sock in it, bro. beautiful art, yes. mercy? when you’re gonna get your act together maybe.

    • Who begs for mercy here? Am I reading different text? Russians lose, Russians pay then at the auctions, make mistakes, then correct them, though making new ones but still. There is nothing of the kind in the article. Do not distort the meaning implied!

  4. I’ve seen “The Treasures of the Tsars” exhibit a couple of times and highly recommend it.

    The fine detail and quality is simply amazing and has to be seen in person to be believed.

    Corruption and government manipulation is a problem everywhere. I think you’re just more familiar with that in Russia. We have terrible problems here in the US but most Americans refuse to believe it, instead they spend all their time watching fictional ‘Reality TV’.

  5. I got a chance to see some Fabrege Eggs (along with other jewelry/metalwork from that time period) in person at an art museum last year. They’re unbelievably beautiful. Thank you for posting these. 🙂


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