The Louvre's Golden Forgery

    For seven years a priceless gold tiara held a prominent place in the Louvre. It had been found on the site of the town of Olbia, in southern Russia, and was inscribed in Greek: "The Senate and People of Olbia to the Great Invincible Saitaphernes." The Louvre paid 200,000 francs (about $40,000) for the tiara—and it went on display on April 1, 1896. It was in a remarkable state of preservation for an object believed to be 2,200 years old. And so it should have been—it had been made only a few months earlier.
    In 1895 Schapschelle Hochmann, a Rumanian wheat dealer, commissioned a goldsmith, Israel Rouchomovsky, to make a gold tiara in antique style. Hochmann paid Rouchomovsky 2,000 rubles (about $10,000) for the work, took the tiara, and carefully battered it to simulate age.
    The tiara might still be on display had not a Montmartre painter, known as Elina, falsely claimed to have created it. A friend of Roucho­movsky who had seen the goldsmith fashioning the tiara would not allow an unknown artist to steal the glory, so he exposed the fraud.