Author Topic: The Amber Room of the Catherine Palace  (Read 62306 times)

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Offline Helen_Azar

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Re: The Amber Room of the Catherine Palace
« Reply #45 on: August 31, 2005, 05:06:45 AM »
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Greetings Helen_A,

I am curious about the appearance of the original Amber panels. Would they not have appeared degraded by the time the nazi's removed them in WWII?


Hi Belochka  :),

I think you are abolutely right, anything that survived until WWII would probably have been in pretty bad shape, strictly because of time factor. I think that many people are currently under the impression that the Amber Room was "stolen' but then returned and restored, which is understandable because this is sort of how it was presented. But in reality, the room was completely reconstructed.

I asked one of the amber masters about this surviving panel, but it doesn't sound like it is actually part of the room now. In any case, if the amber from the original room wasn't taken out by the Germans in the 40's, it would not be in good shape right now, as amber only lasts around 200-250 years... They would have had to reconstruct it right about now, or earlier, anyway.

Apparently, the Germans felt that the Amber Room actually belonged to them, because it originally belonged to Prussia. The story goes that Peter the Great somehow extorted it from a Prussian ruler, I can't remember now exactly how it went, but that it had to be given to him. So as far the Germans were concerned in the 1940's, they were just taking back what was rightly theirs*. Even this time, the amber that was used to resconstruct the room came from the sea in Kaliningrad(?), which is a former Prussian city, and this is where the original amber came from as well.  

[*Of course during WWII, the Germans also helped themselves to a lot of other things in TS that had nothing whasoever to do with Germany, but that's a differrent story.... ]

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Gem grade amber is soft and so fragile it can easily crumble when used in construction... could that fragility be the reason for the short life span of the new Amber room?


According to the amber masters at CP, most amber they use is very light in color. They use various dyes to match the pieces to the original ones, matched from old photos and watercolors. So none of the dark pieces are naturally dark! This came as a surprise to me because I thought that the different colors of amber in the room were natural. But I saw all the dyes they used, and I saw the original pieces, most of which were pale yellow. I even received a couple of the unprocessed pieces as a souvenir  :D.

I will give more details of what I learned about the Amber Room, and also include my photos, in the travelogue which I am going to write for this site, hopefully in a few weeks.

Helen

« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by helenazar »

Offline ChristineM

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Re: The Amber Room of the Catherine Palace
« Reply #46 on: August 31, 2005, 06:30:55 AM »
Wasn't it one of the mosaics that was returned from Germany?   We were at the Catherine Palace at its official handover.

tsaria
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by tsaria »

Offline hikaru

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Re: The Amber Room of the Catherine Palace
« Reply #47 on: August 31, 2005, 08:59:20 AM »
I think that it is one of the 5 Florentine's mosaic - it is mosaic of sense of touch.

Offline Helen_Azar

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Re: The Amber Room of the Catherine Palace
« Reply #48 on: August 31, 2005, 10:25:57 AM »
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I think that it is one of the 5 Florentine's mosaic - it is mosaic of sense of touch.


Yes, I believe that it was indeed the Florentine mosaic, but I am not sure if this means that its amber frame had survived too, or just the mosaic. I am also not sure whether this original mosaic is part of the Amber Room right now or not, I didn't think so, but I may be wrong.  Or it may be kept be elsewhere at the CP. Basically, I just can't remember what they told me about that, because I didn't write it down!  :(

H

Offline hikaru

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Re: The Amber Room of the Catherine Palace
« Reply #49 on: August 31, 2005, 10:41:34 AM »
Original  is not the part of the present wall , because the museum received it after the mosaic was installed into the amber's wall.
On 2003 the original was exhibited in the room , not it is not exhibited.
The intresting thing that the new one much more better than original one ( from the point of view of the quality's of work)

Offline Helen_Azar

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Re: The Amber Room of the Catherine Palace
« Reply #50 on: August 31, 2005, 03:36:32 PM »
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Original  is not the part of the present wall , because the museum received it after the mosaic was installed into the amber's wall.
On 2003 the original was exhibited in the room , not it is not exhibited.


Thank you, hikaru, that's what I thought, but I wasn't sure.

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The intresting thing that the new one much more better than original one ( from the point of view of the quality's of work)


I think that this is often the case!  ;)


Offline Belochka

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Re: The Amber Room of the Catherine Palace
« Reply #51 on: August 31, 2005, 09:14:38 PM »
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According to the amber masters at CP, most amber they use is very light in color. They use various dyes to match the pieces to the original ones, matched from old photos and watercolors. So none of the dark pieces are naturally dark! This came as a surprise to me because I thought that the different colors of amber in the room were natural. But I saw all the dyes they used, and I saw the original pieces, most of which were pale yellow.

Helen


Greetings Helen!

I come across information that the pale yellow -> honey tones of this resin, are the natural variety, whereas the other darker varieties are the product of oxidation.

Perhaps because all the Krasnodar amber specimens were the natural form, this may be the reason why color enhancement was employed? ???

Unlike lucky your wonderful souvenirs, I purchased mine in St. P with and without the insect inclusions, which in effect are marvellous fossils. ;D  


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Offline Tania+

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Re: The Amber Room of the Catherine Palace
« Reply #52 on: August 31, 2005, 11:14:47 PM »
Is Amber found only in Russia?
Are there different types of amber?
Sorry, don't know much about amber?
Does anyone know?

Tania
TatianaA


Offline Belochka

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Re: The Amber Room of the Catherine Palace
« Reply #53 on: September 01, 2005, 12:00:30 AM »
Hi Tania,

Amber is a fossilized resin produced from different types of trees (e.g. pines) that take millions of years to form.

They are characterized by:

1. color - includes  pale yellows, yellow,orange, red, creamy white, brown, green, blue, and black. The darker colours are said to be attributted to decayed organic matter that is characteristic of a marshy environment.

2. degree of transparency - transparent to cloudy.

Amber is further characterized by its

3.  location - marine or land procurement, and

4. Chemical composition- Baltic amber was considered to be the most pure form.

Amber may be found in numerous geographic locations around the world.  

The largest reserve is in Kaliningrad Oblast', in Russia, which houses the Amber Museum.

The U.S., New Zealand, Japan, England, Lebanon, Burma and in the Baltic Countries (Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia) have varying grades and reserves.

Amber was used by the ancient Chinese craftsmen.

I love amber very much. :)
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Belochka »


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Offline Helen_Azar

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Re: The Amber Room of the Catherine Palace
« Reply #54 on: September 01, 2005, 06:21:06 AM »
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I come across information that the pale yellow -> honey tones of this resin, are the natural variety, whereas the other darker varieties are the product of oxidation. 


Yes, that's absolutely right. I believe that this is what they said at the workshop about the color variations.

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Perhaps because all the Krasnodar amber specimens were the natural form, this may be the reason why color enhancement was employed? ???


"Krasnodar" in my earlier post should actually read "Kaliningrad", sorry, that was my mistake.
Yes, I think that most of the amber they get from there seems to be of the pale yellow kind, so in order to create variations they dye it different hues.


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Unlike lucky your wonderful souvenirs, I purchased mine in St. P with and without the insect inclusions, which in effect are marvellous fossils. ;D  


They showed me one piece with an insect in it, this was thought to be an original insect from when the amber was first formed - the fossil. The insect was so small that you could barely see it. Plus it was not exactly intact, unlike the specimen we see for sale at amber shops. I was told that the pieces with larger insects in them that look nice and intact are generally man-made/mass produced. The amber is real, the insects are real, but the bugs are incorporated into the amber solely for decoration ( :P) and commercial purposes, and are not original part of the amber (ala Jurassic Park  ;)) ... Of course there are many amber pieces out there with original insect fossils in them, but they probably wouldn't really sell because judged by the one I saw, they look pretty nasty- sort of like a tiny squashed bug!  :o


Offline Belochka

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Re: The Amber Room of the Catherine Palace
« Reply #55 on: September 01, 2005, 08:31:24 AM »
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The amber is real, the insects are real, but the bugs are incorporated into the amber solely for decoration ( :P) and commercial purposes, and are not original part of the amber (ala Jurassic Park  ;)) ... Of course there are many amber pieces out there with original insect fossils in them, but they probably wouldn't really sell because judged by the one I saw, they look pretty nasty- sort of like a tiny squashed bug!  :o


Many amber pieces with inclusions are indeed a marketing gimmick. A small hole is bored into the amber, and a nice intact insect is neatly inserted, before the hole is sealed with fast drying modern resin of comparable color.

The real value of genuine amber inclusions - is that the inclusions are of extinct species of seeds, insects etc. - even if they are a bit squashed! :o


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Offline Tania+

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Re: The Amber Room of the Catherine Palace
« Reply #56 on: September 01, 2005, 10:10:04 AM »
Hi Belochka,

Somewhere in my collection of jewlery, I have an amber broach, that was given to me by a dear friend who was from Russia. It is dark in color, with leaves and looks like a bug inside the amber. It's very lovely, and one of my favorite gems.

When we were in Russia, I also purchased one of those amber spiders, but the color of that amber is completely different from the amber of my broach. The spider pin, is a clear yellow, where as the broach is the color of the amber in the rooms of the palace.

Thank you also Helen for your sharing. Now at least for my daughter, I have a reference point to allow her to read for herself, about amber.

Thanks again.

Tania
TatianaA


Offline Belochka

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Re: The Amber Room of the Catherine Palace
« Reply #57 on: September 03, 2005, 02:37:14 AM »
You are most welcome Tania!

I am sure that your amber pieces bring you much pleasure, as ours do for my daughter and myself.

Belochka  :)


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Offline Helen_Azar

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Re: The Amber Room of the Catherine Palace
« Reply #58 on: September 03, 2005, 03:09:41 PM »
You're welcome, Tania, it's my pleasure.

Offline ChristineM

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Re: The Amber Room of the Catherine Palace
« Reply #59 on: September 07, 2005, 08:06:08 AM »
Re the Florentine mosaic which was returned to Tsarskoe Selo Museums, the following recollection of Dr Burkhardt Gores the Director of Palaces, Prussian Palaces and Gardens, may be of interest -

'.....   One day the chief of the Potsdam police informed me in confidence that an allegedly original Florentine mosaic from the Amber Room, inserted in panelling by Tsarina Elizabeth after 1755, was being offered in Bremen under suspicious circumstances.   My task was to determine whether it actually was the original.   During my next visit to the amber master's workshop I discovered, however, that an excellent reproduction lay almost finished before me on the work-bench.   In order to be well equipped for identifying the mosaic in Bremen, I received good advice from the gem carvers and restorers and was provided with detailed enlargements of old photographs of this mosaic.

'During the subsequent feigned purchasing in Bremen under the responsibility of Peter Shultheiss from the criminal police in Potsdam, I was convinced of the authenticity of the mosaic.   This led to its immediate confiscation and subsequently its solemn return by the German Government to the Russian Government.   Together with the mosaic, a chest of drawers which had stood in the Amber Room before the Second World War and was rediscovered in a German private collection, was returned.   '....the mosaic had, as it turned out, been stolen by an officer of the German army before the Amber Room was transferred to Konigsberg.'

tsaria