The Great Imperial Crown of Russia was created for the coronation of Catherine the Great in 1762. Each successive monarch wore it as their official symbol of power until the monarchy was abolished during the reign of Nicholas II in 1917. The crown featured 4,936 diamonds along with one of the seven treasures of the Russian Diamond Collection, a 398.72 carat red spinel believed to be the second largest in the world.
Though the Russian monarchy no longer exists the crown has survived the test of time, locked away in the Moscow Kremlin Armory State Diamond Fund. The only way to view it was to visit the armory during one of their official displays. That is, until now.
The Smolensk Diamonds Jewellery Group, part of the Kristall Production Corporation has created a replica of the magnificent crown in honor of the 250th anniversary of the coronation of Catherine the Great and the 400th anniversary of the Romanov dynasty.
The original crown took so long to manufacture that it wasn't even officially completed at the coronation of Catherine the Great. This time around the Smolensk Diamonds Jewellery Group had some major technological advantages. They were able to use scans of the original crown along with CAD software and EnvisionTec Perfactory 3D printers to precisely replicate the original. The 3D printed replica was built in sections in WIC-100 resin and then cast in 14K white gold. The rest of the crown was assembled using traditional, hand-crafted techniques.
All told it took sixty master jewelers two months to produce the royal replica. A few changes were necessary. For instance, the replica includes 11,000 diamonds and the precious red spinel has been replaced by a unique natural red tourmaline of almost 400 carats. Side by side however, the crowns appear to be nearly identical.
"Without the Perfactory 3D Printers such a task would have taken more than one year to produce the replica crown and a lot more staff. The accuracy we can achieve on an object this size is incredible and beyond skilled craftsmen using traditional methods," said Mr. Kunzev of the Smolensk Diamonds Jewellery Group.
Smolensk released a production video that highlights the crown's creation. You can view it below (there is no sound).
Other historic treasures are currently being replicated thanks to 3D printing technology. King Tut and Richard III's remains have been immortalized this way and the Smithsonian replicated a statue of Thomas Jefferson with the help of Stratasys and RedEye.