WASHINGTON, December 18 (RIA Novosti) - Long-lost photographs of four undocumented Russian crown jewels have been discovered in the rare books room of a US library, the US Geological Survey (USGS) said Tuesday.
Librarians discovered the four photographs in a 90-year-old unlabeled album at the USGS Library in Virginia, Richard Huffine, director of the USGS Libraries Program, told RIA Novosti on Tuesday.
Researchers described the discovery as “unique,” noting that the photographs were not included in “Russia’s Treasure of Diamonds and Precious Stones,” a book widely considered to be the most complete inventory of the Russian Crown Jewels.
The four newly discovered pieces include a sapphire and diamond tiara, a sapphire bracelet, an emerald necklace, and a sapphire brooch in the shape of a bow.
The book had been shelved under the “minerals and gemstones” category, and librarians stumbled across it while searching for pre-1923 books to be digitized, Huffine said.
“When librarians pulled the book looking for interesting material to be scanned, they observed the 1922 date and decided to investigate,” he said.
They quickly determined the material was an unpublished album of photographs of the Russian crown jewels, including the four photographs that were not previously known to exist.
The photographs originally belonged to the personal collection of the late George F. Kunz, a mineralogist and gemologist who worked for the agency, according to the library.
USGS librarians are consulting with experts around the globe to trace the history of the newly discovered jewels.