Monday, December 30, 2013

Gifts of Grandeur: King George V’s Cigarette Case

Cigarette Case
Before 1896
Crown Copyright
The Royal Collection
via The Royal Collection Trust
Image Courtesy of
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
Queen Alexandra’s famed good taste extended to the gifts that she gave to her friends and family. Take this cigarette case for example. This was a gift from Queen Alexandra to her son, The Duke of York (later King George V) and his wife, Mary of Teck.

King George V was a longtime smoker. Even Queen Mary was known to take a puff or two—especially later in life. Cigarette smoking was quite fashionable by the Nineteenth Century, and, of course, was also a good excuse to collect a good many handsome items which only made smoking more glamorous. Chief among smoking related objects was the cigarette case.

Fabergé perfected the art of producing cigarette cases and created cases which ranged rom the simplest styles to the most elaborate gold and enamelled versions. Cases by Fabergé feautured concealed hinges, smooth edges and jewelled push pieces. These details made them the poshest accessory of the late Victorian and Edwardian eras.

This particular case of gold, brilliant diamonds, cabochon sapphires was designed by Eduard Schramm for Fabergé. The goldwork is rendered in a technique known as samorodok (gold nugget), in which the plate metal is brought almost to a melting point and then removed quickly from the furnace. This causes rapid shrinking which creates a crumpled appearance. 

No comments: