By Maria Doulton in London
Ever since 1885, Fabergé has been closely associated with the art of giving, one of the more delightful Russian customs we have adopted. It all began in St Petersburg when Tsar Alexandre III of Russia gave his wife the Empress Maria Fedorovna an exquisite bejewelled egg. And with Christmas nearly upon us, gifts are on everyone's mind, and I think you will agree that jewels are a particularly appropriate gift for this season of celebration.
Gifts are certainly on my mind, and looking at the new Fabergé Rococo collection a few weeks ago, I knew these stylish jewels would make perfect Christmas presents. From a contemporary-looking ring made of rich scrolls of gold from just over £2,000 through to a magnificent diamond-set cuff of arabesque swirls with a five-figure price tag, the new Rococo collection of Fabergé jewellery offers a wide range of prices and styles. Whether an eye-catching cocktail ring or earrings extravagantly set with a rainbow pavé of precious stones, as the range grows year on year you can start a collection that you can mix or match or wear just one dramatic statement piece.
As different as each jewel is, the scroll-shape Rococo motif unites the collection. Abstract and decorative, the curlicue flourish is not new. It takes its inspiration from the 1902 Fabergé Easter Egg created for the wealthy Russian heiress Varvara Kelkh. The same swirling shape can be seen in furniture of the era as well other Fabergé pieces, including cigarette cases fit for a dandy, highly ornate picture frames and elaborately decorated fans.
"To create this collection we looked at the original work of Fabergé, which was often inspired by 18th century style," explains Natalia Shugaeva, Fabergé's Design Director. "The Rococo pattern, in essence, is based on the abstract combination of 'C' and 'S' shapes. We felt that this concept could be transformed into a very contemporary look. It is bold, sculptural and dynamic, yet flirtatious and elegant."
One glance at the Rococo jewels and the opulence of a bygone era shines through but with a very modern touch. The drop earrings and the egg-shaped pendant are styles associated with very feminine jewels Peter Carl Fabergé made for his clients in St Petersburg, while the single stone cocktail rings are resolutely modern in their pared-down lines. By using the scroll shape as the central design theme in these openwork jewels, the Rococo collection keeps alive the tradition of innovation and fine workmanship of this fabled jeweller with a very modern twist.
Fabergé has always been associated with brilliantly coloured stones. Today, the new Rococo jewels are brought to life with tender pink and dusky purple spinels, verdant Zambian emeralds, regal amethysts and sky-blue aquamarines. And of course there are diamonds too, used to particularly dramatic effect in the wide cuff bracelet. I like how the colours have been used in different ways, experimenting and daring to be different, much as Fabergé himself would have done. The exciting clashes of green, red, pink, yellow and blue in the Rococo Multi-Coloured bangle contrast with the subtle shades of dusky pink in the Rococo Pink Spinel ring.
From everyday wide gold rings to dazzling jewels worthy of a candle-lit winter ball, Rococo suits many moods and moments. Available in yellow, rose and white gold, click here to see the full Rococo collection on Fabergé's website.