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The Greeks believed that amber was the rays of the sun, petrified. Imagine an entire room covered with panels of amber, glowing and catching the light - no wonder the Amber Room at Tsarskoe Selo was considered to be the Eighth Wonder of the World. King Friedrich Wilhelm I of Prussia presented the room as a diplomatic gift to Peter the Great in 1717. after Peter had admired it while a guest in Charlottenburg, Berlin.
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The room was first installed in the Winter Palace, but in 1755 Empress Elizabeth ordered Francesco Rastrelli to move it to the Catherine Palace. The individual amber panels were carried from St Petersburg to Tsarskoe Selo by 76 guardsmen in six days. They were not large enough to complete the new 100 m decor, so mosaic and mirror insets were added and the upper part of the walls was painted to imitate amber.
During the Second World War occupying troops removed the amber panels in September 1941, and they were brought to Alfred Rode, head of the Konigsberg Art Museum in Kaliningrad. Part of the Amber Room was last seen on display in Konigsberg Castle, before being hidden in its catacombs. From here the mystery starts.
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There are stories that the amber was burnt in a bomb attack, that it was moved to Germany on the personal order of Hitler himself, that it remains in the subterranean vaults of the castle, that stretch for kilometers. The most recent and hopeful theory is that, whilst being transported to Germany, the panels were dumped in a mine on the Baltic Coast.
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The legend of the lost Amber Room has inspired films, thrillers and treasure hunters. Valued today at over $ 142m, it would be no small find.
There were 4 Florentine mosaics in the decoration of the Amber Room which had been created in Florence (Italy). The mosaics' plots are 5 allegories: hearing, taste, eyesight, sense of smell, sense of touch.
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Two mosaics have already been recreated by the masters of the "TsarskoselskayaYantarnaya Masterskaya" Ltd ("Eyesight and Sense of smell". "Sense of touch").
The tradition of "Russian carved stone" is kept up by the craftsmen of the "TsarskoselskayaYantarnaya Masterskaya" Ltd. All the items are made from: quarts, jasper, lapis, lasuli, jade, onyx, agate using the technique of jewelry art.
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A team of amber masters of the "Tsarskoselskaya Yantarnaya Masterskaya" Ltd has worked since 1982, intent on recreating the amber magnificent room. Restoring ancient amber objects d'Art, our craftsmen have studied and still use the old methods of the work with amber.
No doubt, the large experience, new technologies, the high level of master’s skill makes it possible to recreate the Amber Room. The amber panels already installed in the interior of the Catherine palace perfectly illustrate this fact.
At the same time recreating the Amber Room the masters of the "Tsarskoselskaya Yantarnaya Masterskaya" Ltd make a lot of decorative objects d'Art.
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The deep knowledge dodge of the old methods of work allow to our masters to replicate different lost objects having only the photos and descriptions of these ones. The task of our masters is not only to make replies but also to search for own style of the object of applied Art made of amber, ivory, wood and semi-precious stones.

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Copyright -1999
Oleg Novikov
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