Wonderful antique Russian hallmarked .875 (nearly sterling) silver cigarette or cheroot case with niello style textured exterior, medallion sans monogram and 14-18k gold 'vermeil' lined interior! We purchased this with a claim that it was by or associated with Faberge in some way but I've not been able to, so far. The silversmith marks appear to be for Theodor Nugren from the workshop of Pavel Ovchinnikov (c.1830â88), St. Petersburg, Russia, 1899â1908. When it comes to jewelers of the Russian Imperial court, the first name to be mentioned is of course Faberge, which produced gem-encrusted Easter eggs, cigarette cases made of precious metals, and other objects as presents for the royal family and aristocracy. However, there were many other official court jewelers whose skills were equally exquisite. One of those was that of Pavel Ovchinnikov.
Pavel Ovchinnikov was appointed official purveyor to the future Tsar Alexander III (1865), King Victor Emmanuel II of Italy (1873), Grand Duke Mikhail Nikolaevich (1878) and King Christian IX of Denmark (1888). He was awarded the LÃ©gion dâhonneur (1867) and the Order of the Iron Crown (1873). His firm was a trendsetter on the Russian pre-revolution jewelry market. He revived and developed the art of producing enamels. Thin layers of enamel over filigree were applied to the company's dinnerware and icon rizas: the ornament would be created with the use of a silver thread, and the spaces between the individual threads would be filled with enamel of different colors. This was even more complex than the "stained-glass" enamel technique pioneered by Ovchinnikov. Without any solid base, this enamel looked like a glass painting in a Gothic cathedral if held up to light. The company also used the ancient niello technique to create engravings of the Kremlin and Moscow cathedrals. One of the firm's most prominent works was a luxurious icon screen, made of silver and gold, for the Kremlin's Dormition Cathedral. Ovchinnikov was one of the first entrepreneurs of the 19th century to realize the importance of artistic education, and he founded a school for talented young people to study goldsmithery for five or six years. The combination of the zolotnik and city marks together in the oblong oval marking, as seen on this piece, was used between 1882-1899. The "84" tells us that the piece is in at least .875 silver (87.5% pure silver so just under the .925 standard for "sterling" silver). The hammer & sickle mark to the right of that is for the city of St. Petersburg. Larger than the average snuff box, smaller than the average cigar case, this one is missing the original ribbons on the inside that would have held the cigarettes or cheroots in each side but that's easily fixed if you so wish. A lovely piece, an exquisite stocking stuffer :).
Very good condition. There is a dark spot visible on the lid, I'm sure it would polish out but we somehow missed doing so before photographing. As mentioned the inner ribbons or elastic on each side of the interior is missing. No dents that I can see and the clasp works just fine. See pictures for weight and measurements.