25 Nov 2013
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This November, Russian Art Week saw exceptional historic enamel and coloured gemstone jewels and objects by the House of Fabergé on sale at auction in London at Christie's, Sotheby’s and Bonhams.

When Peter Carl Fabergé took over the running of his father’s jewellery business in 1882, he became renowned as an artist-jeweller, focusing on setting each gemstone to best reflect its unique character and reintroducing the lost art of enamelling. It was not only enamel that brought colour to his work, but also his use of precious and semi-precious coloured gemstones, harnessing a delightfully-orchestrated play of light to fashion a characteristic richness of colour.

Amongst the Fabergé treasures on sale at Christie’s on November 25th were 17 pieces, from the Estate of HRH Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester (1900-1974), under the hammer. The fourth child of HRH The Duke and Duchess of York, later King George V and Queen Mary, the Duke of Gloucester, was an enthusiastic collector of antiques and inherited his mother’s penchant for Fabergé, including eight hardstone elephants. One of these, a jewelled gold-mounted kalagan jasper example supporting a gold enamelled turret, which was no doubt inspired by the Order of the Elephant, the highest order of chivalry in Denmark, sold for £290,500, many times its original estimate.

Additionally Christie's offered at auction a stunning silver mounted mahogany mantel clock of architectural form. It was made in about 1890 by Fabergé’s workmaster Julius Rappoport.

Sotheby’s auction on November 26th also offered stunning pieces. This included a single stem of a buttercup with three branches made of gold, the petals of the flower enamelled in translucent yellow and the vase carved from rock crystal. Made in 1900, it was estimated at £220,000-£250,000 and sold for £350,500.

Sotheby's also offered at auction a magnificent pair of silver champagne coolers. Crafted in the Rococo taste, they were made in Fabergé’s Moscow workshop in 1895. Estimated at £60,000-£80,000, they fetched £76,900.

Another fascinating piece on sale at Bonhams on November 27th was a gold, enamel and purpurine bookmark set with a moonstone. It was made by Fabergé’s workmaster Mikhail Perkhin in about 1890.

Find out more about auctions of pre-revolutionary Fabergé items at Christie's, Sotheby’s and Bonhams.

Fabergé collections are available online or in our international boutiques.