This magnificent golden egg was made to commemorate the millennium of Christianity in Ukraine. Volodymyr The Great, Ukraine's Supreme Sovereign (972-1019) brought Christianity to Ukraine from Constantinople (Istanbul) in 988.
This 18-karat gold egg is the product of two years of effort by John Romanation, the designer and creator of this masterpiece. The egg consists of two hemispherical sections and a central, circular band. It is superbly decorated with delicately created etchings and 441 precious stones incorporated with the etchings. These etchings depict the history and culture of Ukraine.
The creation of decorated eggs is a major art form in Ukraine. The egg is the symbol of new life and each Easter many Ukrainians either decorate eggs or create eggs from wood or stone and decorate them. At Easter young Ukrainians participate in classes to learn how to create and to decorate eggs. Two years ago the artist, Mr. John Romanation, decided to expend most of his retirement time and energy on the creation of this beautiful egg in celebration of the millennium of Christianity in Ukraine (988-1988). For many years Mr. Romanation had been motivated to create a golden egg. While in the jewelry business in Troy (1951-1988) he collected gold dust and gold fragments. Before retirement, he had the gold fragments refined into sheets of 18 karat gold (7.62 cm by 7.62 cm and 1.5 mm thick - 4 oz.). The sheets of gold were hand-hammered into the top and bottom halves of the egg; lucite casts of each half of the egg were used during this process.
The upper portion of the egg has precisely etched outlines of St. Sophia Cathedral in Kiev (Capitol of Ukraine) and the Cathedral of Saint George in the city of L'viv in western Ukraine. There is also a faithfully executed copy of a 1,000 year old coin struck during the reign of Volodymyr The Great depicting the ancient national emblem of Ukraine: the TRIDENT (TRYZUB). The legend around the periphery of the TRIDENT is not legible after 1,000 years. The 1,000 year old TRIDENT has a cross at the top of its central point. However, the new TRIDENT adopted on March 22, 1918 by the Central Council of the Ukrainian National Republic does not have a cross atop its point.
The two lines just below the cathedrals contain the statement "Millennium of Christianity in Ukraine (988-1988)"; the top line is in Ukrainian, the lower line in English. There is a separate beautiful ring of gold around the middle of the egg which is decorated by 46 diamonds elegantly mounted inside an etched design. On either side of the central ring are geometric lines which outline triangular and diamond shaped spaces containing 146 rubies and 144 sapphires. The rubies and sapphires are alternately mounted in the diamond and triangular shaped spaces.
The principal decorative elements of the lower portion of the egg are two designs of grapes; one cluster is decorated with 32 gorgeous green jade jewels, the other with 38 reddish-purple garnet jewels. Between the two clusters of grapes are four Easter eggs with different designs. At the lowest level is an elegantly etched sunflower with leaves and a delicately etched sheaf of wheat.
This exquisite gold egg is supported by a delicately designed tripod with a beautiful faceted chrysoprase suspended beneath the tripod.
This is the first and only Easter Egg of this kind according to the artist. In spite of the fact that the artist spent a large portion of the last two years creating this beautiful gold jeweled egg he has no intention of selling it. In the future it is possible that it may be given to a museum.
Mr. John Romanation, the fifth of six children (3 sisters and 2 brothers), was born and grew up in the Ukrainian Carpathian Mountains. His parents lived in Troy, NY from 1910 to 1914: they were married in 1913. His oldest brother was born in Troy in 1914 and the family returned to a farm in Ukraine later that year. John's father served in the Austro-Hungarian Army during WWI.
As a young man, John had an abiding interest in metals and their uses. After completion of his primary education he attended a technical school in L'viv, western Ukraine and received extensive training in watch and clock making and repair: he also received considerable training in gem identification and cutting, and jewelry making.
During WWII John decided to go west, traveling through and working in Poland, Czechoslovakia, Germany and England. In 1951 he came to Troy, NY where his older brother had lived since 1938. John worked for a jeweler in Troy for 10 months in order to learn the customs and business practices in this country. In 1952 John opened Romanation Jewelers at 83 Third St. in Troy, where he operated this business for 36 years. In 1988 he sold Romanation Jewelers to its present owners; James Cook and John Betterly, both of whom served their apprenticeships with Mr. Romanation.
Since then he has enjoyed a busy and fulfilling retirement.
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Page prepared by Walter Maksimovich
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