Among the many materials which
Fabergé employed in the making of his
remarkable bibelots, not the least were the
hardstones: malachite, obsidian, chalcedony,
rock crystal, nephrite, purpurine, jasper, agate,
jade, lapis-lazuli, bowenite, rhodonite, citrine,
the list is endless. His selection of hardstone
was determined entirely by the most appropriate
use for the subject matter and this provided
the figures great individuality and stature.
Also, he combined these hardstones with precious
metals and gems, seamlessly integrating each
with the other creating miniature works of art
with each figure or flower made.
His animals had what art historians
describe as "psychologically interpretive
aspects," the accentuation of particular
characteristics of each subject giving them
personalities and very distinctive charm. They
were much sought after and, today, like all
Fabergé treasures, they reside in museum
collections; The Forbes Collection, The Royal
Collection in London, The Collection of the
Prince of Wales and several museums in Moscow
each having substantial hardstone collections.
The Polar Bear on The Ice Floe is hand carved
of crystal and rock crystal with enormous detail
in the fur. The eyes are rubies and are the
only color in the figure. It is an incredible
reproduction done with enormous care and tremendous
skill.and one would be hard put to see a difference
between it and the original.