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Fabergé

Paperknife, Carl Fabergé, 1899

Carved nephrite, gold and gem-set

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Imperial Faberge Letter Opener

the blade carved from a single piece of Siberian nephrite, the handle embellished with two overlapping stylised batwings in chased yellow gold, each side mounted with an oval cabochon ruby to the centre, with three moonstone cabochons set on the outer edge supported by claw like settings.

Chief workmaster: Michael Perchin
St Petersburg, 1899-1903
Inventory Number: 1979

Length: 17.6cm

Provenance

Purchased by the Dowager Tsarina Marie Feodorovna from Fabergé in St Petersburg on 17th December, 1899.

The influence of French Art Nouveau artists such as René Lalique is palpable on the form of this paperknife. The sharp claws of the batwings which grip the nephrite blade bring the object not only elegance and beauty but also a sense of disquiet, something which often characterises works from the Art Nouveau.