Visit to the Diamond Fund in the Kremlin Armoury. This exceptional collection is located within the Kremlin and owned by the Finance Ministry, a department with a monopoly on mining and selling precious stones in Russia. Here the richest diamonds from Siberian mines are next to numerous stones with high historical significance. Most of them are from the tsars’ collection located formerly in the State Hermitage Museum and then transferred to Moscow during World War I. One can admire the biggest sapphire of the World, impressive emeralds from Columbia, and Catherine the Great’s crown jewels. The most famous pieces are probably the Imperial Sceptre and the Orloff diamond. The Orloff came from India, having been discovered in the middle of the 18th century. Stolen by a French soldier, it was sold to merchants who turned a huge profit. Khojeh, the Persian trader who last purchased it, was desperate because of his inability to resell it. In 1773 he met Prince Grigori Grigorovich Orloff in Amsterdam, a nobleman who had just lost Catherine II’s favor. He bought the diamond in order to return it, a gesture she accepted, asking for it to be set in the Imperial Sceptre. Orloff is a scarcity among historical diamonds because of its original Indian rose shape, being white with some light-blue and green tints. The Kremlin’s official data lists the following measurements: 32mm x 35mm x 31mm for a weight of 189.62 carats (37.924gr).
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