Pictured here is a plate from a rare catalog of Romanov jewels called Russia’s Treasure of Diamonds and Precious Stones by mineralogist A.E. Fersman. (Image courtesy of the Gemological Institute of America)
Pictured here is a plate from a rare catalog of Romanov jewels called Russia’s Treasure of Diamonds and Precious Stones by mineralogist A.E. Fersman. (Image courtesy of the Gemological Institute of America)

Carlsbad, Calif.--As part of a project to maintain rare jewelry-related books, the Gemological Institute of America has digitized more than 200 jewelry volumes, making them available to the public for free download.

The crown jewel of these tomes, so to speak, is an obscure Bolshevik-era catalog of Romanov dynasty jewelry seized during the Russian revolution.

The digital release of the 200-plus books marks the first part of a vast digitization project by the GIA’s Richard T. Liddicoat Gemological Library and Information Center.

Located in Carlsbad, the GIA library holds more than 57,000 books and is home to the Cartier Rare Book Repository. The library is available to the general public, trade and scientific community.

The library’s director, Dona Dirlam, commented on the significance of the Romanov jewel catalog.

“Following the emperor’s overthrow in 1917, noted mineralogist A.E. Fersman, with help from experts and jewelers including Agathon Fabergé, was tasked with photographing and cataloging Russia’s regalia and crown jewels,” she said.



“In 1925-26, the Bolshevik government published Russia’s Treasure of Diamonds and Precious Stones with the intention that the 406 Romanov jewels featured would never be sold. Eventually several of the pieces went to auction; approximately 20 copies of the Fersman catalog are known to exist today.”

The catalog showcases 406 pieces collected by the Romanov dynasty, including the Imperial Sceptre set with the 189-carat Orlov diamond, the Imperial Globe, which features a 200-carat sapphire, the Great Imperial Crown and the Imperial Nuptial Crown.

Other important works that have been digitized include the GIA library’s oldest book, a 1496 edition of Natural History by Pliny the Elder, as well as notable tomes including De Gemmarum Lapidum by Marbode, Bishop of Rennes, published in 1539; Documents de Bijouterie et Orfevrerie Modernes by Paul Follot, published in 1895; The Curious Lore of Precious Stones by George Frederick Kunz, from 1913; and De Gemmis et Lapidibus Libri Duo by Joannes de Laet, published in 1647.

These works are available for free download from the GIA library’s website.

|Subscribe >
National Jeweler

Fine Jewelry Industry News

Since 1906, National Jeweler has been the must-read news source for smart jewelry professionals--jewelry retailers, designers, buyers, manufacturers, and suppliers. From market analysis to emerging jewelry trends, we cover the important industry topics vital to the everyday success of jewelry professionals worldwide. National Jeweler delivers the most urgent jewelry news necessary for running your day-to-day jewelry business here, and via our daily e-newsletter, website and other specialty publications, such as "The State of the Majors." National Jeweler is published by Jewelers of America, the leading nonprofit jewelry association in the United States.