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A Fabergé Imperial Presentation diamond-set vari-colored gold brooch, workmaster Eduard Schramm, St. Petersburg, circa 1899-1904. Circular in shape, the frame of the brooch in red gold, the grille-form centered with a diamond-set Imperial crown, the border with finely chased & hatched green gold acanthus wreath, the back with with gold pin & guard to protect the wearer’s clothing & fingers. Diameter: ⅞ in. (2cm).
The brooch enjoyed unprecedented popularity from the 1890s to 1914. The high necklines of dresses were usually accented with a small brooch at the throat. Around 1900, long-sleeved, high-necked blouses paired with a gored skirt replaced dresses with leg o’ mutton or balloon sleeves as fashionable daytime wear for women throughout Russia, Europe, & America. The refined blouses, often in white or cream, served as the perfect backdrop for small, elegant brooches worn at the neck. The Russian Imperial court, following fashion, acquired numerous brooches in gold, diamonds, & guilloché enamel as presentation gifts for ladies. Etiquette demanded that a strict hierarchy was observed; the wife of a general would receive a more valuable brooch than the wife of a captain. Jewelry historian Ulla Tillander-Godenhielm, in her study of presentation awards during the reign of Nicholas II, found that a brooch like this, made of gold & set with a double-headed eagle or Imperial crown in diamonds, would have been given to the wife of a Major-General, State Counsellor, or Aide-de-Camps. Wives of captains, school teachers, & others would receive a brooch with a similar design, but not set with diamonds.On Imperial presentation brooches, see Ulla Tillander-Godenhielm,The Russian Imperial Award System, 1894-1917(Helsinki, 2005), pp. 198-199.
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