Hearts Through History Romance Writers

The Mystery of the Amber Room

Construction of the Amber Room began in 1701. It was originally installed at Charlottenburg Palace, home of Friedrich I, the first King of Prussia. The room was designed by German sculptor Andreas Schlüter and constructed by the Danish amber craftsman Gottfried Wolfram. The room was given to Peter the Great as a gift in 1716 by Frederick William I in honor of a Prussian-Russian alliance against Sweden.

The Amber Room was shipped to Russia and is believed to have been installed in the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg. In 1755, Empress Elizabeth ordered the room to be moved to the Catherine Palace in Tsarskoye Selo. Italian architect Bartolomeo Francesco Rastrelli redesigned the room to fit into its new, larger space using additional amber shipped from Berlin. The room covered 180 square feet and glowed with six tons of amber and other semi-precious stones. The amber panels were backed with gold leaf and the room was estimated to be worth $150 million today. Over time, the Amber Room was used as a private meditation chamber for Empress Elizabeth, a gathering room for Catherine the Great, and a trophy space for amber enthusiast Alexander II.


The Beau Sancy – Relic of a Vanished Empire

It was inevitable.  Scarcely eight months since the Prince of Hohenzollern married and the new Princess is already cleaning out the attic.

I’m teasing, of course.  However, the Prince did mention that the decision to sell his family’s heirloom was “not his alone.”  Hmmm.

The Beau Sancy is also known as the “Little Sancy”  — one of a pair of diamonds named for their procurer who brought them to Western Europe in the sixteenth century out of Constantinople, their origin presumably from the diamond mines of India.  The smaller gem is not the finest of white diamonds, nor does it benefit from modern cutting techniques.  It does have a particularly romantic history.