I think most people would agree that however glamorous one’s life may be (or may not be), one day really does roll into the next for the most part. But then there are those days which one will remember forever. I had such a day yesterday. Given my current fascination with the work of Carl Fabergé it was a rare privilege to be invited by Geoffrey Munn (of the BBC Antiques Roadshow) to see items of Fabergé he has at the London shop, Wartski. Wartski has been famous over the decades, not only for supplying beautiful things to the rich and famous, but also for being the main dealer in England for important and rare items of Fabergé.
Naturally, I was shown quite a number of beautiful objects of vertu and every item I saw was exquisite in its own way – but there were highlights! One was a large aquamarine and diamond brooch (pictured below), an engagement present from Nicholas II to Princess Alix of Hesse, and known to have been taken from the Empress just before she and her family were shot on July 17th, 1918. I held it in my hands as Geoffrey recounted the brooch’s illustrious heritage and its place in history. Another was one of the treasures Geoffrey showed me which was not by Fabergé – a splendid tiara, set with a number of large sapphires and numerous brilliant diamonds (pictured below). This was a gift from Prince Albert to Queen Victoria. Queen Victoria is even pictured wearing this very tiara (or coronet, as she referred to it) in a painting by Henry Richard Graves of 1874. I held it carefully in my hands for as long as five minutes, spellbound by the knowledge that I was touching a very special piece of history as well as an extremely beautiful object.
Geoffrey was kind and generous – and gave me his undivided attention for a whole hour. Days like this are never forgotten. My visit to Wartski has also re-doubled my passion for Fabergé and I am now working full steam ahead on the next movement of my Fabergé Suite, dedicated to the Diamond Trellis Egg.