Enameled Bowls


Czarist Era

                                                                                          russian enamel spoon swan bird The gorgeous and awesome silver and enamel products which were produced by the talented silversmiths of Imperial Russia for the Czar and the wealthy nobility are among the most beautiful enameled silver objects ever produced.

The combination of several collections has allowed me to present the largest group of enameled Russian silver spoons on the internet (as of this writing).

The most important name among Russian silversmith is that of Faberge. None of the spoons pictured here are a product of that workshop. Caution must be exercised as a number of fake Russian enamel silver objects have been created and are available in the antiques markets. Most of these fakes are for Faberge and other very prominent silver houses and for Russian Judaica silver. While I am not an expert in Russian silverwork, I suspect that all of these spoons are true examples of the artwork of imperial Russia. However I have identified some that have questionable marks and they are shown in a separate exhibit.

In 1917, the Bolshevik revolution swept through Russia and disrupted the established order. Most of the nobility were either killed or ended up in exile. For those who made it to safe havens, they often sold their precious silver, gold, jewels, gowns etc. to raise money to support their lifestyles.

The Bolsheviks (communists) also seized huge amounts of precious items and  periodically sold them into the international markets to raise money. Also some of the  seized goods were melted and refined into silver and gold bars.

In addition, some peasant families were able to acquire precious items and hide them for decades. After the collapse of the Communist empire, many of these items were also sold into the  international markets.

The Russian nobility was very fond of elaborate dinner parties and social get togethers. Spoons of this type were meant to impress the guests and to show the wealth and power of the party giver.

In most cases these spoons were originally part of sets. Over the years the sets have been broken up into their individual components and very few intact sets exist in the world. One set of 12 matched coffee sized spoons  in a fitted case was sold by Christies Auction House in London  for $5614 (plus buyer premium) in Feb. 2011. In October of 2013, Skinners sold a very nice set of 6 demitasse (4.25") in a fitted case for $6000 (click for picture). It is quite possible that you have a matching piece or  a very similar spoon.  This presentation is not exhaustive and many other styles of equal beauty are still available in the marketplace.

I particularly enjoy the variety of the individual pieces and delight in the craftsmanship exhibit by these pieces. All of the spoons are marked as being 84 zolotnic silver (875/1000). All have a manufacturer mark (but they are usually difficult to read). some have a city mark for Moscow or St. Petersburg. I have not been able to assign them to an individual workman in most cases.

                                                        russian cloissone enamel spoon
                                                                                                         Large cloissone and enamel server featuring  a beautiful bird as the central design motif (see first  picture for detail)

Russian enamel cloissone silver spoons
Russian Cloissone enameled silver spoons with rounded style knops -- back  of spoon shown
At this time in history, when the table was set, the spoons were turned face side down. Thus the detail work was on the back of the bowl so that guests would see the gorgeous workmanship when they sat down for dinner.

russian cloissone enamel silver spoons
Front view of these same spoons

near the bottom of this page is a link which will enable you to see detail pictures of these spoon

These Russian enameled cloissone spoons have round stems/finials  

Russian cloissone enamel silver spoons

back of spoon shown

russian cloissone silver enamel spoons

Front of spoon shown

Near the bottom of this page is a link which will enable you to see detail photos of these spoons

russian cloissone enamel spoon

Demi sized cloissone enamel  spoons fit for a czar--back view

russian cloissone enamel spoon

Front view 

russian enamel champleve spoon silver

russian enameled champleve spoon

russian silver champleve enameled  spoon

Beautiful champleve style silver spoon from Imperial Russia

russian enamel spoon

russian enamel  spoon new york

Interesting Russian enamel spoon which has been engraved "New York" in a modern script style.

My guess is that an immigrant was very happy to be in New York.

Cloisonne vs. Champleve

                                                                                                                                        The various types of enamel workmanship are described in this article

View Detail pictures of some of the beautiful  spoons in this exhibit

View similar looking spoons with questionable marks

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