In his Decree dated December 11 (22), 1719, Peter the Great set up a state form of storing valuables, which belonged to Russia. According to this Decree, special department, Kammer Collegium, was founded. Its regulations listed the existing valuables and stated the procedure of their storage in the State Treasury.
According to Peter's Decree, the Treasury was legally defined as the basis of the State Fund of precious metals and precious stones of Russia.
According to the regulations, the valuables from the State Treasury were literally stored "behind three locks", and could be taken therefrom by the personal Tsar's order only. Three officials had the access to the valuables. Each official had his own key to one of the three locks. After the death of Peter the Great in 1725 and until the end of the 18th century almost only women were on the Russian throne. That is why the social status and the external indicator of authority were reflected first of all in precious jewelry, which had never had such success, as in the middle of the 18th century. The emperor's treasury was replenished with new jewelry and jewelry pieces made of gold and silver, the manufacture of which increased considerably during that period. For replenishment of the Diamond Room, as it was called at that time, they bought and ordered unique precious stones, insignia and magnificent jewelry. The quantity of valuables in the Diamond Room grew steadily due to new acquisitions. In the 19th century the collection was replenished with worldwide known historical stones that today are subjects of special pride of the Diamond Fund and represented part of the State Fund of Russia. The Diamond Fund keeps masterpieces of the Russian and foreign art, which are tightly bound up with the history of the Russian State. They reflect the processes of economic and cultural formation of the country, the process of Russia turning into a powerful state.
In the beginning of World War I, in 1914, the valuables were relocated from the battle zone to the Moscow Kremlin.
In 1920 by the Decree of Council of People's Commissars the State Depository of valuables for "centralization, storage and accountability of all valuables of the Russian Soviet Federal Socialist Republic"– the Gokhran of the People's Commissariat of Finance was created.
According to the Decree No. 414 of Council of People's Commissars dated February 3, 1920, soviet organizations and public officials had to immediately deliver to the Gokhran all stored, managed, altered or registered valuables made of gold, platinum, precious stones and pearls within three months.
For the fulfillment of this task all attached garden plots, storage facilities and buildings of Moscow Loan Treasury located at 3, Nastasyinsky per. in Moscow were placed at the Gokhran's disposal.
The future of the state valuables was defined according to the decision of a commission formed in 1922 and comprised of the leading experts from the Hermitage, the Historical Museum, the Academy of Sciences, the Armory, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Gokhran of the People's Commissariat of Finance.
During the years of the civil war and the following breakdown, when the state was in acute need of money for defense of the country and for economic recovery, the valuables of the Diamond Fund were successfully retained. In the beginning of the Great Patriotic War, in 1941, the Diamond Fund and the other valuables of the State Fund, which included all the gold reserves of the USSR, were evacuated from the capital. They were returned to Moscow in 1943. At that time the Gokhran not only saved the valuables, but also facilitated the replenishment of the State Fund.
Rough diamonds from the primary deposits of Yakutia began to come to the Gokhran treasury in the 1950’s. At that time the tasks, assigned by the Government of the country to the Gokhran, were significantly broadened. In the context of active developing of rich diamond deposits in Yakutia and the formation of domestic diamond-mining industry the Gokhran was imposed with a function of sorting and primary processing of rough diamonds. On the basis of a rich raw-material base an industry with a network of diamond cutting factories was created in the country. The Gokhran carried out experimental work on the efficient use of diamonds and on the development of modern saving methods of their processing.
At the same time the Diamond Fund was replenished with new pieces, a considerable part of which included large domestic rough and cut diamonds with given names, as well as unique jewelry pieces, mainly created by the Gokhran jewelers, who followed the Russian national traditions.
Since 1960 the Gokhran was part of the Ministry of Finance of the USSR as the Third Special Department (Gokhran) under the Ministry of Finance of the USSR. In 1979 the Gokhran was named the Third Main Board (Gokhran) under the Ministry of Finance of the USSR. In 1987 it was renamed to State Depository of Valuables of the USSR (Gokhran of the USSR) under the Ministry of Finance of the USSR. In 1991 the Gokhran of Russia got the status of the Committee on Precious Metals and Precious Stones (Komdragmet of RF) under the Ministry of Economy and Finance of the Russian Federation.
In 1992 the Gokhran of Russia became part of the Committee on Precious Metals and Precious Stones of the Russian Federation (Roskomdragmet). In 1996 after the disestablishment of the Roskomdragmet the Gokhran of Russia became the State Institution on Formation of the State Fund of Precious Metals and Precious Stones of the Russian Federation, Storage, Issue and Use of Precious Metals and Precious Stones under the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation.
The Gokhran of Russia in its present form was established according to the Decree of the Government of the Russian Federation dated November 21, 1996.
The main stages of development of the Gokhran of Russia from the Petrine period until today
Decree by Peter the Great on “valuables, which belong to Russia”
The Gokhran becomes part of the Ministry of Finance of the USSR as the Third Special Department (Gokhran)
The Gokhran of Russia gets the status of the Committee on Precious Metals and Precious Stones
The Gokhran of Russia again comes under supervision of the Ministry of Finance