House of Fabergé, ‘FABERGÉ BELL PUSH’, ca. 1890,  M.S. Rau Antiques
House of Fabergé, ‘FABERGÉ BELL PUSH’, ca. 1890,  M.S. Rau Antiques
House of Fabergé, ‘FABERGÉ BELL PUSH’, ca. 1890,  M.S. Rau Antiques
House of Fabergé, ‘FABERGÉ BELL PUSH’, ca. 1890,  M.S. Rau Antiques

This magnificent electric bell push was created by the world-renowned Fabergé. The creation of the company's famed work-master Mikhail Perkhin, this exquisite piece is comprised of luxurious nephrite jade accented by gilded silver working into an intricate foliate design for the handle. Unlike most bell pushes of the time, this device would have been held in the hand to ring. This Gilded Age marvel was also wired for electricity, a significant advancement at the turn of the century. With a simple press of the push's amethyst cabochon, a buzzer would ring to alert the attention of a servant.

Many new inventions at the turn of the century were the result of the new technology, electricity, being put to use to make the lives of the wealthy both luxurious and convenient. This was most readily embodied by items such as the telephone and the bell push. Both transformed the stately homes of the aristocracy and moneyed merchant class into hubs of almost instant communication. Whereas the telephone put one in touch with those far away, the bell push put one's servants, who, in truth, could also be quite far away, within easy reach. Now, instead of tugging on a tapestry bell pull that rang in the servants' quarters, as was done for centuries, one could now push a button attached to an electrical wire on a desk or writing table. This would set off a buzzer and/or electric light downstairs, letting the servants know which room needed their assistance. Made of the finest materials by makers such as Fabergé, these marvelous devices identified their owner as both affluent and technologically progressive.

Features Fabergé mark and maker's mark for Mikhail Perkhin

Circa 1890

2” wide x 3 1/4” length

Manufacturer: Faberge

About House of Fabergé

Best known for its jewel-encrusted imperial Easter eggs, the famous House of Fabergé served as court jeweler to the Russian tsars until 1917 when the Bolsheviks nationalized the firm. The House of Fabergé was founded in St. Petersburg in 1842 by Gustav Fabergé—who may have included an accent in the name to appeal to the Russian nobility—and blossomed under his son Carl. In 1885 Tsar Alexander III commissioned the house to create an Easter egg for him to give as a gift to his wife, beginning an annual tradition. The Hen Egg, as it is known, forged in enamel and precious metals and opening to reveal a surprise golden chicken within, was the first of 54 completed eggs, of which only 42 survive. The House of Fabergé also produced other intricate and exquisite ornamental objects for its elite clientele.

Russian, Est. 1842

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