When A Flower Will Do
I admit, albeit reluctantly, that sometimes a gift of fine jewelry simply isn’t appropriate. It’s not that jewelry isn’t always wonderful (well-made jewelry with some thought in its design, mind you), but, what it communicates can be unintended. It can, for instance, suggest an unexpected degree of intimacy or an intent to take a relationship to the next level. So, what is one to do when fine jewelry is too much, and a box of chocolates too little.
This was the quandary the Russian aristocracy of the late 19th and early 20th centuries faced. Carl Peter Faberge himself noted that it was sometimes “awkward to give expensive jewels.” And so, precious objets d’arts, fashioned in the form of floral displays in a style that paid homage to the art of Japan, became a popular alternative. They helped soften the bleakness of Russian winters and foreshadowed the coming of much anticipated springtime. And, they were appropriately subtly seductive.
This particular Faberge vase, crafted under the guidance of chief master Henrik Wigstrom, seduced me – and how could it not? The rock crystal vase holds two 18K gold stems with delicately shaded violet blossoms enameled en plain of a gold ground, each with a centered diamond. The leaves carved in nephrite mimic actual violet leaves astonishingly. In fact, the whole piece is so lifelike at first glance, one is tempted to smell them to see if somehow the exquisite jewelers of a bygone age had captured the very essence of the flower itself.