The striking composition of the aperture, which is seemingly suspended beneath a bow, is derived from the 18th Century convention for displaying portrait miniatures.
Fabergé sourced nephrite from Irkutsk in Siberia, where it was found in vast boulders. The only way to move these gigantic stones was during the winter, when the ground was frozen. It was then carefully worked by lapidaries to extract pieces of the finest colour and figuring.
Franz Birbaum, who was the manager of Fabergé’s workshop, recalled the finest dark green variety of nephrite became translucent when cut into thin sheets and acquires “a wonderful dense green colour.”