The company’s history
1912 – The Society for Development and Perfection of Lapidary and Polishing Handicraft Industry Russkiye samotsvety (Imperial Edict of Nicholas II)
1922 - The State Trust Russkiye samotsvety (Decree of the Soviet of People’s Commissariat)
1970 –Leningrad’s Production Association Russkiye samotsvety
1993 – The Joint-Stock Company Russkiye samotsvety
The sources of creative and artistic biography of Russkiye samotsvety go to the epoch of Peter I, to the Imperial Peterhof Lapidary Factory founded in 1721 and to the time of foundation of Saint Petersburg. The firm is a historical successor of the Saint Petersburg school of jewellery and stone-cut arts of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, including the renowned Carl Faberge firm.
Famous jewellers once worked at the firms of Bolin, Khlebnikov, Sazikov, Faberge and survived during the times of tragic revolutionary cataclysms, became then employees of the State Trust Russkiye samotsvety formed in 1922 and could pass their knowledge and experience to the apprentices at its factories.
The head factory of the Trust in Soviet Russia, and for a while the only factory in Leningrad, was the Peterhof Lapidary Factory existing from 1721 - one of the best world factories for stone-cut production which works are displayed in the Hermitage and many other museums.
Later the Trust included the Laboratory of export products and the Laboratory for growing of corundum from the Mineralogical Institute of the Academy of Science, that became a base for the Central laboratory of gemstones in 1932 and was reorganized into the Scientific and Research Institute of Jewellery Industry afterwards.
In the mid of 30s the Trust represented a huge company with organizations located all over the country:Leningrad, Moscow, the Ural, the Ukraine, Transbaikal and the Caucasus. In 1925 the Trust even had its own store in London and a trade office in Paris.
In those years the most important orders were the making of ruby stars for the Moscow Kremlin and a really titanic work to make the famous map of the USSR from gemstones for the World Exhibition held inParis in 1937. The work at the map lasted almost a year and about 700 workers of the Trust were engaged. The map was also exhibited at the International Exhibition in New-York in 1937. The unique map was awarded with the Grand Prizes at the both exhibitions. Earlier in 1930-1931s the Trust was involved in setting up a monument to the perished in the revolution of 1905 in the city of Gor’ky ( today Nizhny Novgorod ). The monument still embellishes the city.
In the 70s there were three significant jewellery factories in Leningrad. The largest one was Leningrad’s jewellery factory located on the territory of Gostiny Dvor and in Muchnoi Lane. About 2000 employees worked there. The factory manufactured gold and silver ornaments and silver tableware. Carrying on the traditions of the Faberge firm the factory revived the production of silver enamel-filigree tableware. Today the tableware is a pride of Russkye samotsvety’s range of products.
Another firm was the Russkiye samotsvety factory, tracing its lineage to the Peterhof Lapidary Factory. The factory was specialized in stone-carved articles and silver jewellery with natural stones and rock crystal. In those years the stone-cut art reached enough high level since the technological facilities of the factory let manufacture flat articles, Russian and Florentine mosaics, carved stones ‘cameos’ and various stones for jewellery items.
The third factory – Leningrad’s jewellery works - specialized in non-ferrous jewellery and production of glass crystals for own needs.
In 1970 the Ministry of instrument making and the city administration came to a decision to merge the three factories under the name-successor Russkiye samotsvety.
Among those who were the employees of Russkiye samotsvety in different periods of time are:
M.D.Rakov and G.Orlov – both of them worked at Faberge firm
N.E.Fogt – one of those persons, who revived enamel and filigree silverware in Russia
V.Chernova – in 2001 her necklace Kandinsky was bought by the Diamond Fund of Russia for everlasting keeping).
P.M.Kremlev – colleague and friend of C.Faberge;
A.S.Konovalov and N.I.Dement’ev – their works are kept in the Diamond Fund;
N.A.Ozerov; A.N.Shibko – studied in a workshop of Faberge;
I.S.Burgacheva – took part in the creation of mosaics in the Hermitage and restoration of the church ‘The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood’;
A.A.Samokha, V.A.Fedotov, A.P.Rubailo, I.N.Naumov, A.I.Koren’kov – by expert’s opinion this master’s stone-cut works surpass similar works of the Faberge firm.
And of course, only in the collective of Russkiye samotsvety having the very strong connections to the Russian jewelry school and Carl Faberge, where the ideas ‘ties of times and generations’, ‘retaining and continuation of traditions’, ‘careful attitude to the heritage of the past’ are not just a declaration but a norm of existence , - only in such a collective the idea to perpetuate the memory of Carl Faberge, renowned fellow-townsman, Jeweller from a capital letter, could originate and be implemented.
In 1996, the year of celebration of Carl Faberge 150th birthday jubilee, Russkiye samotsvety entirely at own account made and set up an elegant monument to Carl Faberge. Tatiana Faberge, granddaughter of the famous jeweler, attended the festive ceremony of opening of the monument.
Since 1998 as a result of the company’s appeal to the Government of the city the square, where the monument is, has borne the name of Carl Faberge. It is only the second time in the world’s history when compatriots erect a monument to jeweller.