Portrait Diamond

Russia | ca. 1809 | Diamonds, enamel and silver | Duval (maker)


The center of this treasure is an enamel portrait painting of Russian Tsar Alexander I. He is shown wearing the uniform of the Preobrazhensky Regiment of the Russian Imperial Army, with the Order of St. Andrei and the Order of St. George on his left chest. The portrait is covered with a rose-cut diamond weighing 34 carats, with a full diamond frame set around the periphery.


Jean-Laurent Mosnier, Portrait of Alexander I, ca. 1806 (left)

Johann Tischbein, Portrait of Grand Duchess Catherine Pavlovna, early 19th century  (right)


This stunning work of art is the largest known portrait diamond in the world. The Portrait Diamond is made by Duval, a Swiss jewelry-making house in St. Petersburg. Based on her research in the Duval archives, jewelry historian Lilia Kuznetsova deduces that the Portrait Diamond was completed in 1809 by François Duval, the family's last master jeweler. The diamond is in the late neoclassical style and was a wedding gift from Alexander to his sister, Grand Duchess Catherine Pavlovna.

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