The Soviet government decided in the late 1970s to create a replica of the original Amber Room — pilfered by Nazi soldiers in World War II — from old black and white photographs and drawings.

The Amber Room was a room in the Catherine Palace, constructed in the 18th century in Prussia, located near present day Saint Petersburg, Russia.
It showcased over 13,000 pounds of amber and covered more than 590 square feet.
The original Amber Room was dismantled by Nazi Germany during World War II, and has never been found.
Before the loss of the room, it was considered the “Eighth Wonder of the World.”
A reconstruction of the lost room was installed in the Catherine Palace in recent times, but the loss of the original room, valued at more than $200 million or more, is still felt in the art and antiquity market today.
The room is considered by most in the art and antiques field to be priceless, a lost craft of artisans never to be found in the world again.
It contained gilding, carvings, gemstones and amber-lots of amber.
Mirrors and specialty craftsmanship said to be enjoyed best by candlelight, spun a tale of wonder and beauty never to be seen again on a scale so grand.
The disappearance of such a wonder still has the art and museum world reeling, even to this day.
The original concept for the room was a chamber with amber panels backed with gold leaf and mirrors.
It was originally made by Russian and German craftsmen in the 18th century, and was installed in Berlin City Palace.
Later, after Peter the Great of Russia admired the room, it was given as a gift to the Czar by King Frederick of Prussia’s son, Frederick William.
This helped forge a Russo-Prussian alliance as well, so politics and intrigue followed the room.
It was installed by Empress Elisabeth, Peter’s daughter, at the last known place it was seen, Catherine Palace, near Saint Petersburg, Russia.
During World War II, the curators responsible for the delicate room were intending to move the entire room to Leningrad to preserve it, but years of exposure to the air had made the amber brittle, and impossible to move without destroying the master work.
The room was actually hidden behind wallpaper, but the Nazis knew of the famous room and the wallpaper did not work.
The room was systematically removed and taken by the Army North Group of Germany.
It took two experts and supervision of workers to disassemble the room within 36 hours, and it has disappeared forever from history and the human eye.
The Soviet government decided to create a replica of the room in the late 1970s from old black and white photographs and drawings.
Included in the itinerary were more than 350 shades of amber, used in the original panels and fixtures.
One major problem was the lack of workers skilled in working with ornately carved amber, a skill set lost to the more modern workers who were never taught this very specialized art form.
Financial difficulties plagued the reconstruction project until a German company donated $3.5 million to complete the project.
Most of the work was done by Russian craftsmen who did have some knowledge of the skills needed to complete such an endeavor.
The Amber Room still fascinates people today in the art and antique world because it has never been found after being dismantled and taken during World War II by the Nazi army.
Many theories abound about the fate of the room, but no one knows for certain what has become of the historic treasure.
Many believe the room was moved to Konigsberg Castle in Germany, because there was once an advertisement stating it would be reassembled there and put on display, a feat that never happened.
Many believe the room was destroyed when the castle took on heavy damage during Allied bombing raids on the German city.
Some believe the room was hidden, disassembled in a multitude of theories and locations, including silver mines, swamps, underground bunkers and more.
Some eyewitnesses say that in 1945 a ship named the Wilhelm Gustloff, that left German waters, was sunk by a torpedo off of a Soviet submarine. Inside of the Wilhelm it was said the entire amber room had been disassembled and loaded, an attempted journey thwarted, a treasure lost to the sea.
The Amber Room will probably never be found, intact, anyway, again in human history.
The role of war and the destruction of such has casualties that include antiquity.
The once-great creation, lit by wonder and candlelight is lost to time.
Aside from a few mosaic stones and other smaller decor from the room found in German soldiers’ homes over the years, (small trinkets pocketed when helping disassemble the room), nothing has ever been found, and only theories, superstition, guess work and rumors are left where a once great work of art, wrought by human ingenuity, stood.
(Editor’s note: DeeDee Wood is the owner of Black Cat Curiosities Art and Antiques in Easton, Md., located at 24B Harrison St.)