The exposition presents more than 30 gems that give an idea of the history of collecting and the development of stone-cutting art from the Greek archaic era to Western Europe and New Russia.
The collection of glyptics (the art of carving on colored precious minerals) of the Hermitage ranks among the best in the world in terms of the quality and quantity of monuments. It is known that Empress Catherine II actively acquired works of painting and sculpture. However, it was precisely carved stones that were the true passion of the autocrat, who laid the foundation for collecting gems in Russia. During her reign, from a simple lover of gems, the Empress turned into a specialist and connoisseur. With the departure of Catherine II, the collection of glyptics was replenished with gifts, purchases, and the fruits of archaeological excavations in southern Russia.