the crown

The Great Imperial Crown of Catherine the Great

The Great Imperial Crown of Catherine the Great, was based on the medieval Byzantine crown, consisting of two half spheres representing  the eastern and western halves of the of the Roman Empire, connected by an arch of oak leaves and acorns, symbolizing the temporal power of the monarchy. The two half spheres in this case represents the two continents spanned by Imperial Russia. The crown is surmounted by the 398.72-carat Catherine the Great’s Ruby (Spinel), which in turn is surmounted by a jeweled cross. The cross symbolizes three things: the faith of the sovereign, the God-given power of the monarchy and the supremacy of the divine order over earthly power.

The crown was quite heavy weighing approximately 5 pounds. The crown is adorned with 4,936 diamonds arranged in floral and leaf patterns on the entire surface of the two hemispheres and the connecting arch. Two rows of large white pearls, border the edges of the mitre.

Is is said that Catherine was so impressed by the design of the new Imperial Crown, that she did not mind its slightly higher weight. She told the jeweler that she would manage to wear the load throughout the four to five hour coronation ceremony. But it turned out that she bore the load of the crown throughout her long reign that lasted 34 years from 1762 to 1796.

source – The Great Ruby

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