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Neues Grünes Gewölbe (New Green Vault)

The Grand Mogul Aureng-Zeb, supreme ruler over India, a land of fabulous wealth and magnificence, is celebrating his birthday. The princes of his enormous empire are advancing with great reverence to present their gifts. Between 1701 and 1708 Dinglinger and his brothers, as well as numerous assistants, created this European dream of the overflowing abundance of riches in the Far East. This masterpiece of European jewellers’ art, which comprises 4909 diamonds, 160 rubies, 164 emeralds, a sapphire, 16 pearls and two cameos, fascinates visitors today as much as it did back then. At that time it was August the Strong who was enthralled by such glory and splendour. In the winter of 1701, he ordered his court jeweller “Bey Verlust Dero hohen Gnade” – i.e. under threat of a huge loss of prestige – to transport a recently completed coffee service made almost entirely of gold to Warsaw. It changed hands for the princely sum of 40,000 Thalers.

Today, all the visitor needs in order to be able to admire both of these masterpieces is a simple ticket. Along with more than a thousand other inestimably precious exhibits dating from three centuries, they are on display in the “Neues Grünes Gewölbe (New Green Vault)”. This museum is the perfect complement to the historic treasure chamber. Showcases made of antiglare glass and fitted with state-of-the-art lighting technology focus attention on each individual work of art and enable the viewer to see every detail close up. An example of a tiny object that has become a magnet for visitors is the cherry stone described in the inventory as being carved with “185 faces”, a masterpiece of micro carving. Another fascinating item is the hat clasp decorated with the only large naturally green diamond that has ever been found. August III purchased it at the 1742 Easter Fair in Leipzig for the immense sum of 400,000 Thalers! The spellbound reactions of the visitors show that these works of art have lost nothing of their fascination over the centuries.