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Gifts of Grandeur: Tsar Nicholas II’s Imperial Presentation Box, 1900

Monday, May 9, 2011

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Imperial Presentation Box
Made for Tsar Nicholas II, 1900
Carl Blank for K. Hahn Co.
Two-color gold, guilloché enamel,
rose-cut diamonds, and seed pearls.
Queen Mary, by whom given to
King George V
The Royal Collection
This gorgeous box created of two-color gold, guilloché enamel, rose-cut diamonds, and seed pearls appears, at first glance, to be the work of Fabergé, but it isn’t. Crafted in 1900, the box bears the mark of Carl Blank of K. Hahn. Hahn was one Fabergé’s main competitors for imperial commissions and Blank was one of his chief artisans.


Of the 370 Russian Imperial Presentation boxes, 150 were made by Fabergé and 50 were made by Hahn. This box is one of Hahn and Blank’s finest. Within a field of sky-blue enamel, the cipher of Tsar Nicholas II has been set in diamonds and accented by pearls.

One of several items from the Revolution that Queen Mary acquired, she purchased the box from a dealer, recording it in the Royal Collection as an Imperial Presentation Box made for Tsar Nicholas II. Mary of Teck did make one error in her recording of the piece. She attributed the work to Fabergé. She later gave the box to her husband, King George V.


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