Among the Ural gems, rhodonite occupies a special place. Vases and floor lamps made of rhodonite adorn the halls of the Hermitage and other royal palaces. And in the Peter and Paul Cathedral there are rhodonite sarcophagi of members of the royal family. The remarkable color of this stone, whose Russian name is orlets, is associated with the status of the imperial gem. It is not for nothing that the rhodonite deposit in the Urals was the property of the imperial family.
The Malo-Sedelnikovskoye rhodonite deposit (“Orletsovaya Gora”) was discovered at the end of the 18th century. Rhodonite has been mined there open pit for almost 200 years. It was the first deposit of ornamental stone discovered in Russia, and for a long time it remained the only Russian rhodonite deposit. Initially, the stone was mined in an open way. The mined stone was stored along the perimeter of the quarry. This is what development looked like over a hundred years ago.
Carl Faberge’s firm produced a variety of rhodonite jewelry, from large bowls and trays to small animal figurines, writing instruments and umbrella handles. Lapidary work for the Fabergé company was usually carried out at the Werfel factory, and the company’s craftsmen supplied the products with exquisite jewelry settings. A large number of Faberge’s works with rhodonite are kept in the British Royal Collection.
The first silver artel was located at 69 Catherine Canal. It worked under a contract with the Faberge firm and consisted of 69 silversmiths who had previously worked for Julius Rappoport. In 1910, Rappoport transferred ownership of his workshops to his employees and retired. The workshop continued to work for the Faberge firm.