The demand for Russian silver has ever more on the rise as these collectible spans from different ornate motifs and designs that spans several centuries.
Collectors from inside and outside of Russia have developed a strong passion and persistence in the collection of Russian and European silver, Objets de Vertu, and Russian Works of Art. More and more people are getting involved and passionate in their collection as they view these materials as part of the extraordinary culture in the country.
The field of Russian silver is broad and can be broken down into several collecting categories such as early Russian silver, Russian niello, and Russian enamels. A good example of Russian silver precedes Peter the Great from 1682 to 1725 where Russian style using Russian forms such as bratina, Kovsh, and charka was made. These silvers are mostly made of a dark alloy of sulphur with silver, lead, or copper that is made to fill the styles that have been inscribed on the outer layer. These Russian silvers were mostly created in Moscow, Veliky Ustiug, Pskov, and so on.
After Peter the Great made himself Emperor in 1721, the influence of Western silver started to affirm itself with Russian silversmiths started to traverse Western forms like the salver, the tankard, and other different forms. The production of these forms of silver was mostly in St Petersburg.
The Development of Russian Silver
Russian & European silver started to develop during the 19th century just like its western counterparts as artists started to explore the Baroque, Neoclassical and Rococo styles. These Russian artists also honoured its own national design heritage with the design of “Old Russian” or Slavic style, who was mostly inspired by Feodor Sointsev.
While Russian silvers became widely known, collectors have specific interest on different makers whose works are known around the world. Makers such as Fabergé, Ovchinnikov, Fabergé, Khlebnikov, Grachev, Morozov, and Nichols & Plinke are sought after by collectors.
Then there are also those silver pieces that are from the objets de vertu group, which are made of silver frames, cigarette cases, desk ornaments, vanity table accessories and the likes made by Fabergé, Maison Odiot, Carl Johann Tegelsten, Fyodor Maksimov, and the likes.
Objets de vertu are mostly tied to a particular event in Russian history like wartime. For instance, during WWI, Fabergé made its silver designs to support the war efforts. Since the use of precious metals was restricted, he mostly used copper and steel to create unique cigarette cases and copper pots with the Russian imperial eagle placed on them.