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Articles of jewelry made in Russia from the time of the adoption of the Orthodox Christian Church, c. AD 1000, and which, although influenced by Byzantine art, had its own characteristics. Metalwork, which had been known for many centuries, included from the 10th century filigree work, and in the 11th and 12th centuries embossing and chasing, as well as decoration in cloisonné enamel, granulated gold, and niello. The jewelry for secular use included finger rings, earrings, bracelets, necklaces, belt buckles, and filigree buttons.
Some articles had pagan motifs, but also showed Norse and Oriental influence. Kiev in the 11th/14th centuries became the centre for high-quality cloisonné enamelware, made as plaques for necklaces and pendants, often with religious motifs. The centre for making fine jewelry shifted to Novgorod, and then in the 15th century to Moscow, where the repertory was increased to include jewelled covers for secular books and gold and silver covers for icons, enamelled ware was extensively made, with polychrome enamel dropped on repoussé work or with small silver plaques affixed on top of the enamel.
By the 18th century gemstones were popular embellishments to jewelry, several varieties being sometimes used on a single piece. Under Catherine the Great (1729-96), lavish jewelry in Western style was made for the Court. During the 19th century lacquer snuffboxes were made, especially by such artists as Pyotr Lukutin and his St Petersburg rivals. The culmination of Russian jewelry was reached in the work of Carl Fabergé.
From: An Illustrated Dictionary of Jewelry, autor: Harold Newman, publishers: Thames and Hudson