Belt-buckle

Russian (St. Petersburg)
1908–14
Workshop of Peter Carl Fabergé (Russian, 1846–1920), Attributed to Fedor Ruckert (Russian, 1840–1914)


Object Place: Europe, St. Petersburg, Russia

Dimensions

Depth x diameter: 0.6 x 6.5 cm (1/4 x 2 9/16 in.)

Accession Number

30.114

Medium or Technique

Silver gilt and enamel

Not On View

Collections

Europe

Classifications

Jewelry / Adornment

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.

Inscription

Original presentation box marked K. Fabergé/Moscow/St. Petersburg.Odessa in cryllic

Markings

Impressed crossed anchors and scepter (St Petersburg); abraded maker's mark; and scratched inventory number 32215 on reverse; impressed 88 standard on belt bar

Credit Line

Gift of Mrs. Eustace Strong in memory of her mother, Mary K. Wells