Order of Saint Alexander Nevsky.
Rare jewel of knight "with diamonds".
The cross in yellow gold (585 thousandths, 56 zolotniki) enamelled translucent red on a guilloche background, the arms angled two-headed eagles in silver entirely set with faceted Rhinestones, crowned with an imperial crown, the spread wings covering the branches widely, each holding in its claws a torch, a laurel crown and a phylactery, the smooth reverse is engraved with signs of mounting.
The central medallion presenting :
- on the obverse, in a silver frame set with twelve large Rhinestones, an enamel painting depicting Prince Alexander Nevsky on a white horse in front of the Cathedral of St. Sophia of Novgorod, in armor and royal mantle, crowned with laurel by a celestial hand ;
- on the reverse, the crowned monogram "SA" in Latin letters, on a white enamel background. Long silver clasp set with Rhine stones, the reverse loop in gold.
Official supplier's mark with the Imperial Eagle with spread wings in a large oval under the enamel of the upper branch on the obverse.
Mark "IP" of Emmanuel PANNASCH (1773-1836) under the enamel of the lower branch on the obverse. Two punches on the ring, one partially legible, but probably that of SAINT- PETERBOURG for the year 1835, the other of an illegible assayer.
Sewn to a red ribbon tie, later.
Cross: H.: 52 mm - Width: 46.5 mm - Hoop: H.: 32 mm. Gross weight (with tie): 40.1 g.
Russia, Saint Petersburg, second quarter of the 19th century.
Some flaws and tiny chips to the enamels; chips and a few chips to the stones, a few missing on the eagles; accident and missing to the loop of the ram.
Descendant of a family of Russian officers who arrived in France after 1921.
Initiated by Peter the Great, who wanted to create a strictly military order of merit, inspired by the Order of St. Louis instituted by Louis XIV in 1693, the Order of St. Alexander Nevsky was officially founded after his death by his wife Empress Catherine I on May 21, 1725.
Finally opened to civilians, this new single-class order of chivalry, second in the hierarchy of Imperial Russian orders, enjoyed great prestige until 1917.
It could be awarded with two special distinctions: diamonds for exceptional merit and, after 1855, swords for military merit. Always awarded by personal decision of the emperor, the diamonds were a mark of his special esteem, but also a cash reward. The holders could indeed dispose of the diamonds adorning the jewel and the plate on condition that they had them replaced by Rhine stones or silver chased into diamond points, in order to be able to continue to wear the mark of this imperial honor.
Initially built on the body of a cross of the Order of St. Anne, as evidenced by the lateral grooves at the base of the branches, this jewel presents certain clues (absence of central rivets and inversion of the frame of the cross, the punches of which are visible on the obverse) which suggest that it was formerly dismantled to replace the diamonds with Rhine stones.
Emmanuel George von PANNASCH, born in Saxony in 1773, became a master enameller and snuffbox maker in 1809 in St. Petersburg. Member of the guild of foreigners, he specialized in the manufacture of orders and was appointed supplier of the Chapter of Imperial Orders in 1821. He remained so until his death in 1836.
Expert : PALTHEY Jean-Christophe