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Romanov Jewels Smuggled Out Of Russia During Revolution Up For Auction


The brooch and ear clips are from the jewelry box of Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna, the aunt of the last Russian tsar.

Royal jewels that belonged to Russia's Romanov imperial dynasty before they were smuggled out of the country during the 1917 revolution are set to be auctioned off by Sotheby's.

A sapphire-and-diamond brooch and matching ear clips dating from about 1900 have "a unique story born out of Romanov turmoil," according to Sotheby's in Geneva, Switzerland, where the live auction will be held on November 10.

The brooch and ear clips are from the jewelry box of Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna, the aunt of the last Russian tsar, Nicholas II, and were spirited out of Russia during the 1917 revolution. Their estimated value is between $307,000 and $526,000, the auction house said.

The jewelry made it safely to London thanks to a friend of Pavlovna, a British art dealer and diplomatic courier, to whom she entrusted the set and other jewels for safekeeping.

Pavlovna was the wife of the Grand Duke Vladimir, the son of Tsar Alexander II, "and she had a fantastic collection of jewels," Olivier Wagner, head of sales and jewelry expert at Sotheby's Geneva, told Reuters.

She escaped Russia in 1919 in the face of advancing Bolshevik forces as one of the last Romanovs to leave the country. She died in France in 1920. Her brooch and ear clips are being sold by a European family who bought them at auction in 2009, the auction house said.

Sotheby's said the auction features many other pieces made with rare colored diamonds, including the item expected to capture the highest bid, an orange-pink diamond weighing 25.62 carats set in a ring. The auction house said it has an estimated value between $3.9 million to $5.9 million.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AFP
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