Posts in Silversmiths
Important Silversmiths – Julius Alexander Rappoport

Of Jewish origins, Isaac Abramovich Rappoport was born in 1851 (although some sources say 1864) in Lithuania. After his apprenticeship in Berlin, he became a master in 1884 and moved to St. Petersburg, where he opened his own workshop and started working as head silversmith for Fabergé. A few years later he became a Christian and changed his name to Julius Alexander.

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Important Silversmiths – Nikolai Nemirov-Kolodkin

Nikolai Vasilyevich Nemirov was born in Vologda in 1819, into a merchant family. During his youth he lost both his parents and moved to Moscow in 1843.  In early 1850s he started working as a clerk for the silver merchant Ivan Ivanovich Kolodkin. Ivan Kolodkin didn’t have children and named Nikolai his heir, giving him his surname.

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Important Silversmiths – Wakeva

Stephan Wakeva was born in Finland in 1833. He went to St. Petersburg at the age of ten and was apprenticed as a silversmith. In 1856 he qualified as a master and founded his own workshop specialised in tableware, tea sets, tankards and samovars. Wakeva supplied the firm of Gustav Fabergé with silverware and from the late 1870s he had a contract with the company to work exclusively for it.

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Important Silversmiths – Pavel Ovchinnikov

Pavel Ovchinnikov (in Russian: Павел Акимович Овчинников) was one of the most famous Russian silversmiths of his time and an exceptional businessman.

He was born in Moscow province in 1830, from a family of modest origins: his father was a serf. Nevertheless Pavel was sent to study in Moscow by Prince Dimitri Volkonski, where he was apprenticed in a jewellery shop.

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Important Silversmiths – Feodor Ruckert

Friedrich Mauritz Ruckert was born in the south of Germany in 1840. At the age of fourteen he emigrated to Russia to work for the Yusupov family. There he was named Feodor Ivanovich Ruckert.

In 1886 he opened his own workshop in Moscow at 29 Vorontsovskaya Street and one year later he signed a contract with Fabergé. He never worked exclusively for the well known firm, but for thirty years he was the main supplier of cloisonné enamel for the Fabergé company.

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Important Silversmiths – Ivan Britzin

Ivan Khlebnikov (in Russian: Иван Хлебников)was born in St. Petersburg, son of a diamond and jewellery merchant. By 1865 he had his own jewellery firm, where he employed his sons Mikhail, Alexei and Nikolai.

In 1871 Ivan opened a factory in Moscow, employing around 200 artisans.

Within the premises of his factory he also opened a school of design and sculpture for thirty-five students.

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Important Silversmiths – Ivan Khlebnikov

Ivan Khlebnikov (in Russian: Иван Хлебников)was born in St. Petersburg, son of a diamond and jewellery merchant. By 1865 he had his own jewellery firm, where he employed his sons Mikhail, Alexei and Nikolai.

In 1871 Ivan opened a factory in Moscow, employing around 200 artisans.

Within the premises of his factory he also opened a school of design and sculpture for thirty-five students.

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Important Silversmiths – Erik August Kollin

After his apprenticeship in Finland, where he was born, Erik Kollin moved to St. Petersburg, where he registered as a goldsmith and started working for August Holmstrom.

In 1868 he qualified as master goldsmith and two years later he opened his own workshop. Kollin worked exclusively for Fabergé and from 1870 to 1886 he held the role of head workmaster for the company.

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Important Silversmiths – Nicholls & Plincke

Charles Nicholls and William Plincke (in russian: Николс и Плинке) were two English men trading in St. Petersburg who were granted Russian citizenship in 1804. In 1808 they qualified as members of the first guild and in 1815 they took over the business founded in 1876 by John Pickersgill. They initially traded under the name of William Plincke’s English Shop and from 1829 Nicholls & Plincke’s English Shop (1829–54).

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Important Silversmiths – Keibel

Otto Samuel Keibel was born in 1768 in Prussia. He moved to St. Petersburg very young, becoming a guild jeweller in 1797. In 1808 he was named member of the city council. At his death in 1809 his nephew Johann Wilhelm took over the business, which rapidly grew and started receiving commissions by the Imperial Court.

In 1825, Wilhelm was commissioned all the silver ornaments for the chapel of the Mikhailovsky Palace. In 1826 the firm created the crown for the coronation of Alexandra Feodorovna, wife of the Tsar Nicholas I and in 1836 received the Imperial Warrant.

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Important Silversmiths – Ignaty Sazikov

Ignaty Sazikov (in Russian: Игнатий Сазиков) is undoubtedly one of the most important Russian silversmiths and jewellers of all times.

Born in Moscow province in 1793, he moved with his family to Moscow where he was apprenticed to his father. At his father’s death in 1830, he inherited his workshop and opened a factory in St. Petersburg and a professional school for eighty goldsmiths and silversmiths. In 1846 the firm received the Imperial Warrant by Tsar Nicholas I, becoming official supplier of the Tsar.

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Important Silversmiths – Gustav Klingert

Gustav Klingert (in Russian: Густав Клингерт), originary from Germany, began his career working as a master for Fabergé. In 1865 he founded his own factory in Moscow employing over 200 artisans and manufactured items worth 400,000 roubles. In 1889 he exhibited at the Exposition Universelle in Paris where his works were granted honourable mentions. Four years later at the World Fair in Chicago,  Klingert was described as one of the most important firms in Russia. Thanks to the large popularity received the firm started to export its wares in United States through Tiffany & Co. In 1896 Gustav Klingert was granted the Imperial Warrant.

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Important Silversmiths – August & Albert Holmstrom

August Holmstrom (in Russian: Август Хольмстром)was born in Helsinki in 1829, son of a bricklayer. After his apprenticeship in St. Petersburg, he became master in 1857 and bought his own workshop. The same year he was appointed headmaster for the House of Fabergé and started working exclusively for the company.

Holmstrom’s workshop was famous for its miniature copies of the Imperial regalia, exhibited at the Exhibition Universelle in Paris in 1900 and nowaday part of the Hermitage Museum collection.

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Important Silversmiths – Faberge

The history of Fabergé (in Russian: Фаберже) begins in France back in 1685 when, due to the revocation of the Edict of Nantes the family had to leave the country to escape the prosecution against Huguenots and moved to Pernau, in the Baltic province of Livonia (now Estonia). Over the years the family name changed from Favri, to Fabrier and finally became Fabergé.

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Important Silversmiths – Jean-Valentin Morel

A student of Adrien-Maximilian, maker of gold boxes to Louis XVI and Napoleon. In 1818 he started working independently and registered his first mark in August 1827 and later went to work with the Fossin brothers in 1834, remaining there until 1840. From 1842 - 1848 Morel was in partnership with the French architect Henri Duponchel (1794-1868) establishing themselves as Morel et Cie, where they became known for their renaissance revival objets d' art to the designs of Jules Peyre and Constant Sévin. At one point they employed 80 workers and won a gold medal at the Exposition des Produits de l'industrie of 1844 in Paris. However, their partnership ended acrimoniously in a lawsuit that resulted in Morel being prohibited from working in Paris again.

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Important Silversmiths – Puiforcat

Founded in Paris in 1820 by Emile Puiforcat, the firm produced originally silver flatware and cutlery. At the end of the century Louis-Victor Puiforcat shifted the focus of the company to high-end silver pieces, especially reproductions of 18th Century masterpieces.

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Important Silversmiths – Cardeilhac

The company was founded in 1804 by Antoine-Vital Cardeilhac, who specialised in silver tableware and cutlery in a fine Rococo style.

Soon, the firm gained notoriety participating to the International Fairs and winning a bronze medal in 1823 and the silver one in 1827 and 1834.

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Important Silversmiths – Christofle

The story of the firm began in 1830 when Charles Christofle (1805 - 1863) arrived in Paris from Lyons to join his brother-in-law’s jewellery firm.

When his brother-in-law died in 1837, Charles took over the business which became, within a few years, one of the most successful and popular silver brands of the last two centuries.

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