Last Friday I finally got the chance to go and see the Faberge exhibition at Wartski on Grafton Street, featuring over a hundred and forty five pieces of work produced by the famous Russian workshop. All these pieces belong to a private collection, which has been put together over the last 40 years.
To be able to view these pieces up close and marvel at the exquisite craftsmanship was a real privilege. I am always awestruck at the skill of the goldsmiths work from well over a hundred years ago and the fact that this was all done by hand.
From a gemmologists point of view it was like being a child in a sweet shop! The array of gems and hardstones used was impressive…. In the case of all the carved animals (and there were many!), stones were selected for their resemblance of colour/pattern to the animals they were fashioned into.
Below is a small selection of some of my favourite pieces as featured in the catalogue from the exhibition, so enjoy…
A gold mounted gem-set fob watch
Composed as a brooch decorated with a vivd green sunburst guilloche enamel, overlaid with diamond set trellis work and a border in the rococo style set with diamonds and rubies. The suspended watch is similarly decorated.
A carved hardstone and gem-set gum-pot
A tapering cylinder of pale green bowenite decorated with greek style gold laurel swags and key terminals. Each intersection has been set with cabochon rubies and diamonds on the mounts at the base. The lid features a cabochon moonstone framed by rose-cut diamonds.
A hardstone study of a mouse c.1900
Carved from blue chalcedony, the fur has been naturalistically represented. The tail and ears are pave set with diamonds and the eyes are set with gold mounted rose cut diamonds.
A gem-set brooch mounted in platinum c.1900
An octagonal form composed of a meticulously pierced panel set with calibre-cut diamonds, rubies, blue and pink sapphires, topazes, demantoids, garnets and emeralds. The design is reminiscent of a cross-stitch pattern and was one of my favourite pieces in the exhibition.
A hardstone study of a cicada c.1900
Carved from Nephrite Jade, every detail of the insect is minutely depicted and the carving is so fine that the wings are transparent.
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