Faberge Stone Carving

Stone carving art by Faberge

Faberge had an association with Karl Vorfel's hard stone workshop, which later became part of the Faberge firm. This is where most of the carved hard stone figures, flowers, and animals were produced and where the hard stone carver Derbyshev worked. We also know that hard stone objects were commissioned by Faberge from the Imperial Hard stone Workshops in Peterhof. Faberge opened ranches in Odessa in 1890 and in Kiev in 1905. There, some minor work was carried out, but the bases of production remained St. Petersburg and Moscow.

Flowers and Stone Curving

The tradition of the gold and carved hard stone flowers by Faberge and others can be traced back at least to the eighteenth century. In the mid-eighteenth century, flowers were produced by Jeremie Pauzie, who then was working in the context of a broad European fashion for such flowers (these are now in the Hermitage). Faberge also followed in this tradition in his production of such flowers. The magnificent basket of lilies-of-the-valley that was a gift to the Czarina Alexandra Feodorovna is one of Faberge's best known works and possibly the earliest flower group created by him. Faberge was no doubt inspired by the hard stone carvings preserved in the Crunes Gewolbe (Green Vaults) in Dresden. As a young man he had also visited the Opificio delle Pierre Dure in Florence, the hard stone cutting and carving workshop founded by the Medicis.

Faberge's hard stone carvings of animals are distinguished not only for a most appropriate use of hard stone-for example, the use of pearly-black obsidian for a penguin or milky-pink chalcedony for a pig-but also for the injection of "character." There was a certain "psychologically interpretive" aspect to Faberge's animals: an accentuation of a typical characteristic, such as in a happy, well-fed pig. The hard stone human figures created by Faberge utilized various materials seamlessly joined together to form the completed composition. These figures are reminiscent of the porcelain figures produced in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries by the Imperial Porcelain Factory and by the Gardner, Popov, and other private porcelain factories.