A Chinese Jade Cricket Cage mounted as a Compact by Carl Fabergé

St Petersburg, 1908-1917


carved of openwork jade with a stylised tiger to one side and an elephant to the other, mounted by Fabergé in yellow gold as a compact, the border enamelled opaque white and bound by chased gold leaves. The interior of the lid fitted with a mirror and the base with a compartment for powder and puff with a hinged gold lid.

Chief Workmaster: Henrik Wigström
St Petersburg, 1908-1917

Length: 7.2cm

Carl Fabergé’s sources of inspiration were wide-ranging. He created a number of pieces in the Chinese taste and incorporated Chinese objects and vessels into his work, creating mounts for them in tribute to their origins.


A design for an identically mounted box, apparently this one, survives in the Henrik Wigström archive, numbered 14467 and dated 1914.

The chirping of the cricket is considered good luck in Chinese culture. Decorative cricket cages started to be fashioned during the Tang Dynasty, into which a single cricket could be placed and their chirpings listened to like music.


Fabergé, Hofjuwelier der Zaren, Kunsthalle der Hypo-Kulturstiftung, Munich 1986-7, no.179, ill.p.157.

The Josiane Woolf Fabergé Collection, Habsburg, Feldman, New York 1988, no.11
Zurich 1989, no.179.

Fabergé – A Private Collection, Lahti Art Museum, Finland, Lahti 1997, no.12, ill.p.16.

Fabergé from Private Collections – An exhibition on behalf of Music in Country Churches, Spencer House, London 1998, no.27.

Golden Years of Fabergé. Drawings of the Wigström Workshop, A La Vieille Russie, New York/New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans 2000, ill.p.110.

Fabergé, Imperial Craftsman and his World, Riverfront Arts Centre, Wilmington, Delaware, 2000-1, no.462, ill.p.202.

Fabergé/Cartier, Rivals at the Tsar’s Court, Kunsthalle der Hypo-Kulturstiftung, Munich 2003-4, no.139, ill.p.189.

Fabergé, Joaillier des Romanov, Espace Culturel ING, Brussels 2005-6, no.131, ill.p.191.

Carl Fabergé: A Private Collection, Wartski, London, 2012, no.88.