Museums and collectors all over the world have long covered the sumptuous subject of fantasy created by Russia’s House of Faberge in the late nineteenth century for the last tsars of the Romanoff dynasty. The name Faberge is renowned for majestic bejewelled imperial Easter eggs once exchanged as gifts by the royal family, but it is equally revered for the myriad other priceless objects d’art created in the Faberge workshops, including jewellery, animal miniatures, picture frames, clocks, bell pushes – and especially cigarette cases.
Exquisitely designed and handcrafted, the cases were both a valuable luxury and a functional necessity in which a gentleman could properly store and display his cigarettes. Each case is flawlessly constructed and unique, differing in size, shape, and materials, and each has its own history and personality revealed in the hallmarks of the work masters, the crests, monograms, and initials of the owners, and in the scratches, dents, and bumps from practical use.
San Francisco collector John Traina owns the world’s largest collection of Faberge cigarette cases and related accessories, gathered together here for the first time. He personally attests to the excitement of passion inspired by completing such a collection and the intrigue of finding each new case and researching its provenance. Traina’s former wife, author Danielle Steel, adds a moving testimony of her life with the collector and his collections, and what the cases symbolise for her.
Specially commissioned colour photographs reflect the dazzling display of materials used in creating these treasures, such as precious metals and gemstones, a rainbow of enamels, nephrite, wood, glass, crystal, and leather to name a few. The cases are examined and put into their historical context with provocative, informative, essays and commentaries by Giza von Habsburg, noted scholar and Faberge expert, Mikhail Piotrovsky, Director fo the State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, and selected dealers, curators, and collection in the field. Detailed captions proved the provenance of and interesting facts about each case.
This volume is the first devoted specifically to the splendour of the Faberge cigarette cases and related accessories, and the first to focus on the collection of John Traina. Lavishly illustrated, filled with valuable insights into Faberge’s relationship with the tsars, and including a detailed list of Faberge cigarette case work masters, this book is an important addition to the scholarship available on this renowned imperial jeweller and on the world of collecting.
136 photographs in full colour