Enamelled gold mounted rock crystal bonbonnière

From the collection of King Farouk of Egypt


the bulbous body and lid carved from rock crystal in the eighteenth century taste with ornate rocaille motifs, the hinged yellow gold mount enamelled translucent red over a dappled ground and entwined with a ribbon of rose diamonds, stood on rolling waves cut from the crystal.

Chief Workmaster: Michael Perchin, St. Petersburg, before 1896, inventory number: 1501

6.3 cm across by 4cm high


The bonbonnière was purchased by Wartski from ‘The Palace Collections of Egypt’ sale held by Sotheby’s in Cairo on the 10th March 1954, lot number 144. The sale was ordered by Nasser’s newly formed Egyptian Republican government to depose of the possessions of the exiled King Farouk. The bonbonnière is pictured in the catalogue on plate three.

The Strauss Collection.


The Russian rock crystal used in the bonbonnière is exceptionally fine and clear. Franz Birbaum, Fabergé’s workshop manager commented in his memoirs that the material,

‘demanded of the craftsman a particular skill and its setting was entrusted  only to the most experienced Workmaster. It could not tolerate the slightest heat and the settings were never soldered, even with tin’

The gold settings of the bonbonnière are enamelled rich translucent red and mounted with diamonds.  The flux for red enamel contains gold and was the most prized and costly of enamel colours used by Fabergé.

A similarly mounted nephrite bonbonnière is in the collection of the Hillwood Estate Museum in Washington.