Object Place: Europe, St. Petersburg, Russia
Depth x diameter: 0.6 x 6.5 cm (1/4 x 2 9/16 in.)
Medium or Technique
Silver gilt and enamel
Not On View
Between 1890 and the First World War, the emphasis on slender waists (“wasp waists”) in ladies’ fashion spurred the wearing of belts with ornamental buckles. Depending upon the country, buckles were made in the Arts & Crafts (England and Scotland), Art Nouveau (France and Belgium), Jugendstil (Germany and Austria), and Modernista (Spain) styles. In Russia, the design was more historical following the tastes of the Romanov court, Fabergé’s most important patron. The colorful buckles created by the firm were typically rectangular or oval in shape and decorated with transparent enamels over metal with engine-turned patterns.
This cloisonné enameled buckle is unusual in that the design is in the Neo-Russian style, very much influenced by Austrian and German stil moderne or Succession style. Such designs were composed of repetitive, geometric forms and highly stylized floral motifs. Works in metal were enlivened by enamels in blue, green, white, and brown. Some, including this example, have twisted, silver-gilt cloisons and painted enamel highlights in gold.
This cloisonné enameled buckle is unusual for Fabergé because it is in the neo-Russian style, which combines ethnic Russian motifs in abstract, modernist formats very much influenced by the designs of the Austrian and German stil moderne and secessionist movements.3 Such designs were composed of repetitive geometric forms and highly stylized floral motifs. Works in metal were enlivened by enamels in blue, green, white, and brown. Some, including this example, have twisted silver-gilt cloisons and painted enamel highlights in gold.
Yvonne J. Markowitz, “Belt-Buckle” in Artful Adornments: Jewelry from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston by Yvonne J. Markowitz (Boston: MFA Publications, 2011), 142-143.
Original presentation box marked K. Fabergé/Moscow/St. Petersburg.Odessa in cryllic
Impressed crossed anchors and scepter (St Petersburg); abraded maker's mark; and scratched inventory number 32215 on reverse; impressed 88 standard on belt bar
Gift of Mrs. Eustace Strong in memory of her mother, Mary K. Wells