This magnificent desk seal dates to Russia pre the 1917 revolution and is crafted from nephrite jade, gold and a carved white chalcedony intaglio. The pommel form nephrite jade handle sits above a gold mount which has gadrooning to the rim and encases a carved round medallion of white chalcedony. This medallion has been engraved with the coat of arms for the Russian 'Ouroussov' (Urussoff) family. Whilst the piece is unmarked for a maker or for gold purity, the piece does have 'scratched' into the gold a presumed inventory number. Interestingly Wartski of London have a remarkably similar seal in a fitted Fabergé box. Their seal is crafted from bloodstone, is marked for the work-master but is unsigned by any retailer, akin to this jade example. Whilst it is impossible to say, it is not unlikely that this seal could have been crafted by Fabergé or someone working for the Fabergé workrooms.
Provenance - Sotheby's London, 18th December 2007, 'Important Silver, Gold Boxes & Objects of Vertu', Lot 1: estimate £3000-£5000 GBP - hammer price £5000 GBP. The piece retains its Sotheby's swing tag with the lot number and sale date.
Sotheby's note in their catalogue: 'The Ouroussov (Urussoff) family were created Princes in 1801 and served the Imperial Court closely for several generations. Prince Serge Leonidovich Ouroussov (b. 1872), among other members of his family, was a Gentleman of the Chamber.'
It should be noted in some of the images that there is a black round patch on the nephrite jade which is merely a reflection and not a flaw. The nephrite, chalcedony and gold are all in excellent condition and show only very minor signs of wear and use.
Marked - scratched inventory numbers '294F' and 'B1/-/-'
Measures - 6.5cm L
Measures - 85 grams