In keeping with my crown jewels theme, I found a fun interesting fact about one of my Irish relatives while visiting Ireland. And because I’m of both Russian and Irish heritage, it makes the story all the more fun.
My relative, Harry Boland, was very active in the Irish war of independence and became an Irish delegate to the US in an effort to raise money for the cause. While Harry was in the US, the Soviet Republic, having a similar cause, negotiated an interest-free loan of $25,000 from the Irish Republic. As part of the agreement, the Irish Republic would hold pieces of the Russian Crown Jewels as collateral.
The loan was settled in 1920 and possession of the Crown Jewels was transferred in New York. Harry Boland was appointed custodial duties over the Crown Jewels and brought them back to Ireland. Although Boland was killed in 1922 in the civil war, he had given the Crown Jewels to his mother for safe keeping before the war broke out. They remained in her possession until 1938, when she turned them over to the Irish government. They were finally returned back to Russia for the face value of the loan in 1948.
As a gemologist, I salivate at the idea of holding pieces of the Crown Jules of any nation in my hands, let alone having possession of them for years. I’m glad to know that one of my relatives was entrusted with this task. More importantly, I’m glad to know they were kept safe out of harms way until they were to be returned.
Author: Michelle M. Rahm is a GIA-trained Graduate Gemologist and is President of Colorado’s Mile High Chapter of the GIA Alumni Association. She has been selling gemstones and jewelry online since 1997. Visit her websites JewelryImpressions.com and OurCustomWeddingRings.com
Photo By: stagejewellery – royalexhibitions.co.uk