Tbilisi: Museum of Fine Arts, Treasury

The exquisite 12th century cross of Queen Tamara: front and back views

Back in the 6th century BC, when Anglo-Saxons were working in iron and bronze, Georgians were making the most extraordinary jewellery in gold. If you’re in Tbilisi you must, must, must see the superlative results of their labours.

The Musem of Fine Arts, Tbilisi, is tucked away, set back from the hustle and bustle of Freedom Square. Its Treasury is tucked away from the rest of the museum, and can only be visited on a guided tour. No bags can be taken into the Treasury and photographs are absolutely not allowed.

Overcome these hurdles and you’ll see the most spectacular necklaces and rope chains made of solid 24 karat gold. In addition, you’ll be able to see icons carved from ivory, golden icons studded with turquoise and garnets, seed pearls woven into the most exquisite fabrics, and some of the first known examples of cloisonné. It’s a jewellery lover’s paradise

The most famous item in the Treasury – therefore library photos are available – is this beautiful devotional cross belonging to Georgia’s indomitable 12th century leader Queen Tamara. Emeralds, diamonds, rubies and pearls inset into a delicate golden frame.

 

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