March 19 marks the beginning of the European Fine Arts Fair - TEFAF - in Maastricht, the Netherlands. Thirty-six years on from its foundation as the somewhat modest Pictura Fine Arts Fair, TEFAF is now one of the most important exhibitions of its kind the world.
Last year, the fair attracted 263 exhibitors from 17 countries, with China making its first appearance. 73,000 people visited in order to admire art of every kind from the last 6,000 years. It really is an enormous event, attracting the best exhibits, as well as crowds of keen collectors and investors.
In the first of several articles on TEFAF, we at Paul Fraser Collectibles will today highlight some of the beautiful items that New York art and antiques gallery 'A La Vielle Russie' will be displaying at the fair.
The gallery, which specialises in antique jewellery and Russian art, was founded 160 years ago. In that time, it has traded many items by Fabergé - most notably Imperial Easter Eggs. In addition, it has served clientele as diverse as the sisters of Tsar Nicolas II, deposed during the 1917 Russian Revolution, and the renowned collector, King Farouk I of Egypt.
A La Vielle Russie will be displaying some wonderful pieces. A highlight is a gold and lacquer snuffbox, featuring peony decoration and mother-of-pearl trelliswork. Dating from around 1770 - the reign of King Louis XV - the delicate piece is extremely precious.
Considering their specialty, it is no surprise that the gallery will be exhibiting two enamel Fabergé frames. However, one of the most important sets is a Victorian diamond and garnet suite, consisting of necklace, brooch and earrings.
Created around 1850, the garnets are described as having a "rich earthy wine colour"; diamonds are, of course, incredibly popular at the moment. This exquisite and very rare exhibit has a six-figure value and is certain to draw attention.
This is just a taster of what's on offer at TEFAF - watch this space for more over the next week or so . . .
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