A Russian gold, diamond, & pearl Art Nouveau brooch, Karl Bok (or Bock), St. Petersburg, 1899-1904. The brooch cast & chased in Art Nouveau taste as a continuous oval whiplash terminating in a stylized blossom set with an oval brown diamond & two natural pearls, above rose cut brown & white diamonds. The pin with a small guard to protect the wearer’s fingers & clothing. Struck with maker’s mark & 56 standard (the equivalent of 14K). 1 ½ w x 7/8 h in. (3.6 x 2.1 cm).
The firm of Karl Bok (1851-?), an Imperial Court Jeweler, received the designation of Supplier to the Court in 1901. Primarily jewelers rather than silver- or goldsmiths, the firm had shops in Moscow & St. Petersburg. Their Saint Petersburg shop was located in a prime location at No. 9 Bolshaya Morskaya, the street on which all the most important jewelers had their shops, at the corner of Nevsky Prospect. The superior quality of their work was recognized both in Russia & abroad: they received the Gold Medal at the 1896 All-Russian Exhibition in Nizhnii Novgorod as well as at the 1900 Paris Exposition universelle. Not surprisingly, it was here that the future Fabergé workmaster Feodor Afanasiev received his training, serving as an apprentice & journeyman before receiving the status of master with the right to use his own mark. Karl Bok’s son Alexander also worked at the firm & was recognized as such а skilled & prominent jeweler that he was selected to work alongside mineralogist Alexander Fersman & Agathon Fabergé in cataloguing the Imperial Court jewels in the State Diamond Fund in 1922 & 1923.
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