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Russian Silver

Russian silver is one of the most beautiful, valuable, and highly-acclaimed types of silver in the world. Unfortunately, it is also one of the most commonly counterfeited and misidentified. This makes buying from a reputable source and having a basic understanding of what to look for when purchasing Russian silver of paramount importance.

While many Russian objects may purport to be made of sterling, there is, in fact, no such thing. Russian silver is based on zolotnick standard, which consists of a variety of titre ratings, or degrees of purity. The most common zolotnick standard is 84, a number which is often stamped on Russian silver and signifies a purity level of 87.5 percent.

Russian silver artifacts from prior to the 18th century are largely housed in major collections and museums. Carl Fabergé, the maker of the famed Fabergé eggs, was also regarded as one of the preeminent silversmiths during the height of Russian silver production. Fabergé is now arguably the best-known silver craftsman of his generation. There were many other great Russian silversmiths of this time period, however, including Semenova, Lyubavin, and the Moscow Artels.

Quick Facts

  • An authentic silver and enamel Russian kovsch drinking vessel can often sell at auction for over $10,000, sometimes in excess of $100,000
  • The 84 punch was also common throughout other parts of Europe and the Middle East
  • In 2010, Sotheby’s sold an early 20th century Russian gilded silver and shaded enamel kovsch for more than $500,000, significantly exceeding the presale estimate of $200,000 to $300,000

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