Silversmith and goldsmith works in Russia
1. Russian silversmith’s ware
Silver antiques works, particularly those decorated with a special enamel called “cloisonné” are very typical in Russian silversmith’s and goldsmith’s wares.
In the19th Century, sets of exquisite cutlery were made. The handles used to be traced with curly silver threads, creating small cells that formed drawings of plants or abstract borders, which used to be filled with enamel colours (specially in light blue, white and red).
Occasionally, in order to give the pieces a greater luxury and sumptuousness, the silver was usually given a gilt “vermeil” finish. Probably, the most genuinely Russian objects made of precious metals are the drinking vessels (“kovsh”), which boast an exotic look and sometimes also include that kind of enamel. Likewise, in our Balclis auctions we often find unpainted silver objects, such as samovars, vases or sets of vodka vessels.
2. Karl Fabergé, the most famous Russian goldsmith
The most famous and appreciated Russian goldsmith ever was Fabergé (St. Petersburg, 1846-Lausanne, 1920), who used to work for the Tsars and made famous Easter eggs in platinum, gold, silver, precious stones, hard stones and enamel.
With those materials he made all kinds of jewellery, chocolates boxes, boxes, chalices or miniature animals, which delighted Alexander III, Nicholas II and their families, as well as the Russian aristocracy. In his jeweller’s in St. Petersburg he also trained several craftsmen, who learned his techniques and style. These works occasionally are for sale in our jewellery auctions and other objects, bearing Fabergé’s signature or that of some of the goldsmiths in his circle.