I'm looking for a Russian idiom which would be the closest analog of "crown jewel" as in, for instance, "the crown jewel of my collection". I'm not satisfied with "главное украшение" since that's hardly an idiom.


It almost complete equivalent, it's жемчужина, like in жемчужина коллекции. Here's an example of real-life usage:

Один из коллекционеров марок в Красноярске выставил на продажу жемчужину своей коллекции – оригинал марки, выпущенной еще во времена Российской Империи в 1914 году.


Настоящей жемчужиной выставки является картина «Поклонение волхвов»

  • Nice! Probably doesn't get much better than that. I'll accept your answer tomorrow just in case someone has anything else to say of interest. – imakhlin Jan 11 '18 at 1:46
  • @imakhlin oh sure, no rush, it's always better to wait for a wider range of answers. – shabunc Jan 11 '18 at 1:47
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    What's even nicer is that this Russian idiom has, to some extent, a direct translation into English. Say, "the pearl of my collection" returns thousands of results in Google. However, I'm unable to find this English-language idiom listed in a dictionary as of yet. – imakhlin Jan 11 '18 at 1:54
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    @imakhlin: en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/pearl noun 2 - kind of awkwardly entered but I think that's the closest you'll get ^_^ – Lightness Races in Orbit Jan 11 '18 at 16:33

When speaking about the most spectacular/important part of a multi-part event (say, a circus show act) or its most anticipated participant, e.g. a speaker on a conference, it can also be "гвоздь программы":

«Газета "Нью-Йорк Таймс" отметила, что "Умирающий лебедь" стал настоящим гвоздем программы».

«Гвоздем выставочной программы стали боевые машины воздушно-десантных войск».

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    There's also "вишенка на торте", although it is usually used ironically, with rather negative connotations. – Headcrab Jan 15 '18 at 1:33

эта картина - венец моей коллекции

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