Graduate's Badge of the St Petersburg Women's Pedagogical
Institute under the Patronage of Empress Maria Feodorovna.
Multi-part silver, silver-gilt and enamel badge measures
24.7mm by 44.8mm. The central feature of the badge is the
Empress' crowned monogram in a laurel wreath. Immediately
beneath that is a blue enameled silver gilt Maltese cross.
The support for the cross is a broad and ornate silver
rhombus. Completing the image is the state version of the
Russian eagle at the top of the badge.
The reverse of the badge has a steel pin as a fastening
device. There are three hallmarks. The silversmith's was
struck at an angle and is not legible. The second is a
standard sterling silver 1908 (and later) pattern oval with
"84", a kokoshnik head, and the Greek letter alpha
signifying that the badge was made in St. Petersburg. The
third mark is a Kokoshnik head in a circle.
Very fine to excellent condition. While five of the eight
enameled tips at the end of the arms of the cross show
chips, only two are significant and we show close-ups of
them. Because the overall design of the badge is so
ornate,however, the viewer's eyes are not immediately drawn
to the enamel and we do not feel that they detract from the
immediate impact that the badge makes when first seen. The
badge was obviously designed to deliberately resemble the
Russian University badges worn by those who had earned
Masters and/or Doctoral degrees.
Approved in 1914, this was one if the last badges authorized
by the Tsar before the revolution. (Any Russian badge or
jetton showing the eagle, the crown, and/or the monogram of
a member of the royal family required Nicholas's personal
approval before it could be produced.) Since it could not
have been safely worn after the 1917 revolution, it had one
of the shortest "life-spans" of any imperial era badge: only