Fabergé: the World’s Greatest Goldsmith

John Benjamin

13th November 2019



The son of a middle class provincial jeweller, this talk analyses the mercurial rise of Carl Fabergé in pre-revolution Russia who, by his late 30s, was producing incomparable jewels and objects d’art for the Imperial Court and bourgeois Moscow and St Petersburg. The presentation discusses Fabergé’s early life and influences, includes photographs of the shops and their workers, and is comprehensively illustrated with objects d’art including hardstones, flower studies, works of fantasy, jewellery, objects of function, and the famous Easter Eggs. The talk also closely parallels the life of Tsar Nicholas 11 and the tragedy of of the Tsarevich Alexei, Rasputin and the events leading up to the Revolution and beyond. Workmasters, maker’s marks, and the growing problem of fakes on the market are also explored.

Lecturer’s CV
John Benjamin FGA, DGA, FIRV began his career in 1972 at Cameo Corner, the celebrated Bloomsbury antique jewellers, well-known for its unrivalled stock of ancient, Renaissance, 18th and 19th century jewellery. In 1976 he joined Phillips Fine Art Auctioneers as a cataloguer and valuer where he remained for 23 years, ultimately becoming International Director of Jewellery with responsibility for the sale programmes in London and Geneva. In 1999 he established his own jewellery consultancy John C Benjamin Limited acting as an independent consultant for the private and corporate client network.
An author, lecturer and broadcaster John Benjamin gives presentations all over the world on a range of jewellery-related topics as diverse as Diamonds, Renaissance Jewels and Fabergé. He is author of “Starting To Collect Antique Jewellery” and is co-author with Paul Atterbury of “Arts and Crafts to Art Deco: The Jewellery and Silver of H G Murphy”. For over 25 years he has been a regular contributor to BBC Television’s ever-popular Antiques Roadshow.
His qualifications include Fellowship of the Gemmological Association and he holds the Association’s Diamond Diploma with distinction. He is a Fellow of the National Association of Jewellers’ Institute of Registered Valuers and is an accredited lecturer for the Arts Society. A Freeman of the Goldsmiths’ Company and a Freeman of the City of London, John Benjamin is a Court Assistant and Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Arts Scholars.

(Image: Wiki Commons)