Two lavishly illustrated inventories of jewellery belonging to Ksenia Aleksandrovna, the Grand Duchess of Russia, are highlights of the Russian Sale, taking place on the 30 November 2011 at Bonhams, New Bond Street.
The albums served her as a personal, visual diary and are almost completely unrelated to political circumstances, which the Grand Duchess elaborated upon in correspondence and personal accounts elsewhere. Each birthday, name day, Christmas and Easter was marked with jewelled gifts from her inner circle comprising of her tutors, close friends and family. The modest pendants and lockets of the young girl are recorded, small gifts from the courtship of Grand Duke Alexander Mikhailovich (‘Sandro’) who was later to become her husband, and the simple rings marking the birth of her seven children. Grand Duchess Ksenia’s wedding celebrations marked one of the last times the Crown commissioned jewellery from the Treasury. The exquisite emerald, ruby and sapphire jewellery sets gifted by her parents, as well as the diamond necklaces, tiara and the pear collier-de-chien, by the jewellery house Bolin, were all recorded and annotated by Kensia in the inventories offered by Bonhams. The notes simply read “from Mama and Papa for the wedding”.