14 September 2019 - 15 March 2020
One of the Hermitage’s greatest treasures is the fabulous jewellery collection. Hundreds of them superbly sparkle in Jewels!. Together with many portraits and a profusion of richly decorated gowns and ensembles once worn by the highest echelons at the Russian court in St Petersburg, they represent two centuries in fashion and jewels. Meet the country’s flamboyant empresses – Anna, Elizabeth and Catherine the Great – as well as grand dukes and duchesses, tsarinas and noble fashionistas of the nineteenth and early twentieth century. For balls and parties they wore dazzling costumes, set off by bijoux carefully selected to demonstrate identity, taste, breeding and wealth. Jewellery might also be designed to provoke or convey secret messages. Pieces were ordered from leading houses like Cartier, Tiffany and – of course – Fabergé, special supplier to the Imperial Crown. Many pieces were lost following the Russian Revolution. Jewels! presents a glittering array of surviving masterpieces, situated in ballrooms and boudoirs like those of the tsars’ Winter Palace.