THE GREAT CROWN OF RUSSIA RINGThIS IS THE ONLY ARTIFACT ON THIS WEBSITE WHERE IMAGES ARE NOT PROVIDED TO THE PUBLIC. NEW INFO:
Along with the new information included here, I have made some updates to the original information on the Great Crown of Russia Ring.
Although the following new information may not yet be conclusive concerning the ring's creator, it nevertheless appears to provide information about the era of Catherine II. In my opinion the goldsmith/jeweler who created this ring was of (or followed) a tradition that is unmatched by any standards. As mentioned previously, this ring contains miniature art. It possibly has layers of symbolism. The Imperial Great Crown of Russia may also have at least some miniature art; if so then I would expect that it has immense symbolism for the Russian people.
I have recently discovered a gold (that appears to have various tones or light reflecting tones) and platinum area on the back end of the first row of diamonds (the ring has a front and back). It is the only area that has gold and platinum that is in the same area, so it is distinct area of the ring. This area is slightly over 1 mm x 1 mm, and has some of the best miniature art that I have seen to date. Among other things the art and inscriptions show a worshipful dedication from Catherine II to Voltaire. There is also a suggestion that "someone" thought that Voltaire's most famous work "Candide ou l'Optimisme (aka Candide" was a work of genius connected to Halley's Comet (Candide was published in 1759, Halley's Comet appeared that same year). The dedication to Voltaire should explain the theme on the large central diamond in the center row, which appears to be of Catherine II as the Polestar, but specifically as a Varangian Polestar. In one of Voltaire's flattering letters (either in 1766 or 1777) to Catherine he referred to her as "the brightest star of the North", hence the Polestar. There also appears to be a reference to Grigory Potyomkin the General Field Marshal, Statesman, favorite, and lover of Catherine. The next area has a deep engraving that can be found on the inside of the platinum setting of the middle row of diamonds. Among other things, in one of its four point positions it shows the following: a distinct letter "P", which when moved transforms to a number "1" and a number "7". When moved again the "7" transforms into the number "9" Over the "P" is the letter "J"; over this is a larger letter "S". There is also symbolism displayed with the letter "P" which is represented by a figure working a stone that reflects a bright light; next to this there is a reflective nude figure that when the ring is moved slightly will move towards and over the stone. This apparently has to do with a discovery concerning Platinum. This may translate as an abbreviation for "J"eremia Pauzie of Switzerland made a discovery with Platinum in 1779" or "a discovery with Platinum was made in honor of Jeremia Pauzie of Switzerland who died in 1779". Pauzie was a key jeweler to the Imperial Court of Catherine II. He designed and created the Imperial Great Crown of Russia for Catherine's coronation in 1762. He returned to Geneva, Switzerland in 1764 and died there in 1779. My current speculation concerning the symbolism on this ring is that it represents a tribute to Catherine II's thirty-ninth birthday (there are thirty nine diamonds in three rows of thirteen on the ring) in 1768 and the beginning of her expansion of the Russian Empire. 1768 was the year that Russia went to war with the Ottoman Empire; this was a war declared by the Ottomans and Catherine's first. It resulted in a great Russian victory and an expansion of it's southern borders. Catherine may have interpreted this as Voltaire having made a prophecy with his "brightest star of the North" flattering phrase. As much of the symbolism of central themes contained in traditional miniature art is expressed in layers, it is most probable that the number of diamonds represents only one layer of symbolism. So there may be a second level, which is that possibly the three rows of thirteen represent a show of solidarity with America and its War of Independence from England with the League of Armed Neutrality. There were three initial signers of the 1780 treaty that was officially presented by Russia; they included Russia, Denmark, and Sweden (so initially it was a type of Northern coalition). Research shows that the treaty may have been in the works for two years in advance. There may be a third level of symbolism with the number of diamonds. If so then it is a representation of the total number of diamonds in the Imperial Great Crown (13 x 372 = 4,836). This is explained in the original information about the ring's symbolism. Also inside the band in one corner near the bezel there is a type of Romanov imperial seal, for whatever reason it is well hidden.GREAT CROWN OF RUSSIA RING
The "Great Crown Of Russia Ring," also called the "Catherine the Great Ring" or the "Jenny Ring," is a ring that was brought out of Vladivostok, Russia in 1922 during the Russian Civil War. It was one of the only possessions that accompanied a Russian Count on his flight out of the country. The Count was a Conductor of the Russian Imperial Opera Orchestra, and was a protege of Tchaikovsky. His heir and descendants named this the "Catherine the Great Ring," as it was thought to have once belonged to Catherine II, aka Catherine the Great. Catherine II is the only woman in history to have been honored with the title "the Great." Empress of Russia, she was born in 1729 and ruled from 1762 until her death in 1796. This ring is one of a kind. "Jenny Ring" is a name that honors one of the Count's descendants.
The ring is made of 18 to 20 karat gold and platinum in a hollow umbrella-dome shape, it has diamonds of varying sizes that are arranged in three separate vertical rows of 13 diamonds each, for a total of 39 diamonds. This ring is a stylized representation of the Imperial Great Crown of Russia; thus the name: "The Great Crown Of Russia Ring." According to Russian tradition, there are 4,836 diamonds in their "Imperial Great Crown;" other claims are that there are 4,935 or even 5,000. The 39 diamonds in this ring at another level may represent the 4,836 tradition as 13 x 372 equals 4,836. It could even be speculated that 372 represents the year the Huns entered Europe in 372 AD. This could hint that Rurik (830 to 879 AD) the Varangian (Eastern Viking), founder of the Rurik Dynasty and the rulers of the Kievian Rus (who would become known as Russians), was thought to be of at least some Hunnish ancestry. (Attila the Hun is considered a heroic figure in some Eastern and Northern European traditions). Rurik's connection to Catherine the Great will be discussed in more detail below.
The diamonds have a unique cut, which is a type of Old Mine cut. They appear to be of the 18th C, but platinum is usually thought to be of a later period. The workmanship on the platinum is less refined than that of the gold; the work is not in any way typical of platinum jewelry creations of the 19th and early 20th C. Research has shown that in the late 18th C. platinum jewelry or platinum and gold jewelry could have existed. However no examples are known to have survived, or else have yet to be identified. By the mid 18th C., German academics had discovered a process to work platinum. British, French and Spanish chemists were also experimenting with processes to master this metal. The French chemist Antoine Laurent Lavoisier (the father of chemistry) melted platinum in 1782; the Russian Czarevich Paul and Ben Franklin were present for a second display. There were a handful of goldsmiths and jewelers to the French court who knew the process. The most famous and expert of these was Marc Etienne Janety. Of his many reported platinum creations, only an ornate sugar bowl that belonged to Louis XVI still exists. In 1788 King Carlos III of Spain commissioned goldsmith Francisco Alonso to craft a platinum chalice as a presentation to Pope Pius VI.
The diamonds are cut and worked to produce an intense sparkling effect of movement, much like three vibrant streams of water. Under a magnifying glass, almost all the diamonds' facets show that they have light engravings; all have a different table cut, which creates images inside each diamond. The facets and tables were worked to show images that change when the ring is moved (a type of manual animation). The miniature engravings on the gold and platinum will create other images, some of these are made by the reflection of a diamond's facet on the gold or platinum; when moved the images transform*. There are various themes portrayed, and there are also inscriptions in Latin, a few Russian letters (Cyrillic), and a few Runic letters; there are also numbers. Some of these will give images of a face, or a figure. Each diamond is an artistic masterpiece. The table of the largest center diamond in the center group is 3 mm in diameter. Among other things, it has a maker's mark.
The central diamond has themes that appear to be Christian on first appearance, such as a cross, etc. This changes when moved, to reveal that a central theme at another level may concern the founding of the "House of Rurik" on the death of Rurik the Varangian in 879 AD. Certain letters on the diamond could suggest Catherine as his descendant. There may be references to Oleg (a male relative who ruled after Rurik), and Igor (Old Norse: Ingvar) who is thought to have been his son and heir. In 1786 Catherine composed three dramas; the last one was left unfinished. These were titled "The Life of Rurik;" "The Beginning of Oleg's Rule;" and "Igor**." Furthermore, in the stone itself are images of a man/bear/bird's head (the bear is most distinct and shows the neck and shoulder, it is a shape-shifting bear) with a cup in profile (when moved it shows the bear's neck being pierced from behind), and a frontal view of a large bear or bear cub head. There is a distinct heavily engraved vertical line that moves from the shoulder of the bear that appears in profile to the large bear head forehead (viewed from another position, this line is part of a female fertility figure). These images may appear to be part of the Norse Saga of Hrolf Kraki. The man/bear head that can shape shift into a bird head should represent "Bjorn" ("Brown Bear"), who as a victim is a type of sacrificial werebear; the large frontal bear or bear cub head is of one of Bjorn's sons, "Bodvar Bjarki" ("Little Battle Bear"). In the Saga there were three brothers, of which Bodvar Bjarki was the youngest; Bodvar Bjarki and his brothers are connected to a "sword in the stone" legend. One of the brothers is part Elk, while the other is part Hound. The center diamonds appear to reference Bodavar Bjarki; the other two sets of diamonds appear to reference his two brothers. Analyzing the information there presents another task. Many of my artifacts suggest that the bear/bird head may symbolize the Big Dipper (or the Little Dipper) and the Pole Star. Furthermore, the large frontal bear or bear cub head with a flame or spear head (or sword) should be associated with the star/constellation of Arcturus as a "hero light bringer;" "sword in the stone;" and a "bear head cross." The moving of the engraved vertical line reflects exactly the saying "Follow the Arc to Arcturus." The other two brothers most likely represent an elk constellation and a hound constellation, or are connected to a solar elk (as a sun runner) and hound story. In my opinion, this part of the Saga (in some form) is more ancient than the rest of the story, it is most likely rooted with Sami (Laplander) and, or Finnic tribal mythology. The art on one area of the paleolithic "Paleo 'Goddess Stone' Back" included with the Ancient Miniature Art on this website even suggests that it may be derived in part from one of the most ancient myths in all of Europe. It is evident that the diamond carver/engraver knew that the Norse Bjarki story had great antiquity and that he was giving claim that Rurik was descended from a family or tribe that identified with a myth (or similar myth) of Bjorn and sons. Catherine was by birth a German princess from Anhalt-Zerbst, but she was also descended from the House of Rurik, and she very much considered herself to be a Varangian.
When the ring is placed on a light background, the band produces a type of blurred hologram in its enclosure; when moved it transforms. This effect is created by line engravings inside the concave of the ring and the light showing through the diamonds. In natural light this hologram appears to be of St. Vladimir, aka Vladimir the Great (grand prince Vladimir I of Kiev, a Christian convert who completed the conversion of the Kievian Rus), his grandmother St. Olga (the first Christian ruler of the Kievian Rus) who was the wife of Igor, and his mother Malusha. When the ring is held in a different position, the light will create a large bright Roman letter "V" which also appears to represent a book being held open by a male figure in a tall hat (St. Vladimir); then if moved more it will become two figures (who are opening a book). When moved again, this will change into a dove (or pigeon), and then a flaming dove (or pigeon) being held by a woman with long hair or a hair veil (St. Olga). Finally it again changes in profile into a figure facing a smaller figure with a halo, and then a cave with a bright light (Malusha and St. Vladimir), when moved to this last position with artificial lighting, it shows in profile a bear over and facing a woman, there is a bright light between them (this may be a reference to a Varangian bear fertility myth, but it may also mean the end of the Varangian era and the beginning of the Christian era). The Latin letter "V" may have a double meaning; it may stand for St. Vladimir, but because it is a Latin letter it may also be a reference to the Varangians and, or the number five.
*I have various artifacts that show that a technique using a polished stone's engravings with light reflection and dark shades to obtain images as harkening back to the Stone Age. During the Age of Metal this technique was combined with metal or a metal wash to produce improved images. This seems to have been perfected during the Roman Period, then somewhat lost during the Medieval Period, and then apparently reappearing during the 18th C. or a bit earlier. At some point in the 19th C. it appears as less refined until it all but disappears in the last part of the 20th C. The same techniques were used by the ancient peoples of the Middle East and Asia.
** It should be mentioned that: A manuscript named "The Song of Igor's Campaign" was discovered in 1795 and was published in 1800. Alexander Borodin wrote four parts for an opera titled "Prince Igor." After his death others completed the work, which opened in St .Petersburg in 1890.
Copyright 2008 David Xavier Kenney
Revised Feb, Mar. 2008 and Sept. 09