Russian 14k Tri-colour gold mounted, guilloche enamel and green…
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Russian 14k Tri-colour gold mounted, guilloche enamel and green nephrite letter opener elaborate guilloche enamel handle applied with tri-colour gold mounts, incorporating a Russian Imperial double-headed eagle finial, laurel leaf swags suspended from yellow gold bows centered by cabochon rubies, two gold ferrules each set 18 rose cut diamonds and a classic scroll ornament surmounting the green nephrite blade, marked '56' zolotnik denoting 14 carat gold and with an indistinct Cyrillic maker's stamp, length 25.5 cm

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  • Guilloche - A form of classical decoration consisting of a repeating ornament of interlacing curved bands, sometimes forming circles, and further decorated with rosettes or other flower forms.

    The name is derived from the inventor, French engineer Guillot, who invented a mechanical method of inscribing fine repeating patterns on to metallic surfaces.

    On enamelled items with guilloche decoration, the surface is firstly engraved with the repeating pattern, and then covered with several layers of enamel, each of which is fired.

    Where the item has not been enamelled the form of decoration is usually called "engine turned".
  • Carat - A carat (abbreviated "ct") is a unit of measurement used to describe the weight of a diamond or other gemstone, and separately is a unit of measurement used to describe the weight of precious metals such as gold,.

    For gemstones, one carat is equal to 0.2 grams or 200 milligrams. The weight of a diamond is one of the Four Cs (along with cut, colour, and clarity) that are used to determine a diamond's value.

    It is important to note that a diamond's weight does not necessarily correspond to its size. A diamond's cut, which affects how well it reflects light, can make a diamond of a lower weight appear larger than a diamond of a higher weight. Additionally, the carat is not the only factor to determine the value of a diamond, other factors such as clarity, colour and cut are important too.

    In the gold industry, the purity of gold is measured in carats (abbreviated "ct"), with 24 karats being pure gold and lower carat numbers indicating a lower purity level. So, for example, 18 carat gold is 18/24 or 75% pure gold, and 12 carat gold is 12/24 or 50% pure gold.
  • Laurel Leaf - The use of the laurel leaf as a decorative element can be traced back to ancient Greece and Rome, where it was closely associated with victory and honour. In these cultures, the laurel was a sacred tree that was dedicated to the god Apollo and was believed to have protective and healing properties.

    In ancient Greece, the laurel wreath was awarded to victors in athletic competitions, such as the Olympic Games, as a symbol of their achievement. The wreath was also associated with academic achievement, and was often worn by scholars and poets. The Greeks also used the laurel leaf as a symbol of victory in war, and it was often depicted in artwork alongside images of triumphant warriors and heroes.

    The Romans continued this tradition, and the laurel wreath became a symbol of the highest military honor, the triumph, awarded to victorious generals. The wreath was also used to crown emperors and other important officials, and was often depicted in Roman art and architecture as a symbol of power and authority.

    The laurel leaf is still used as a symbol of achievement, success, and excellence, and is frequently used in logos, emblems, and other branding materials. Its association with victory and honour has made it a popular choice for awards, medals, and other forms of recognition.
  • Floral Swag / Garland / Festoon - Floral swags are a decorative motif often used in the ornamentation of various objects, such as silverware, glassware, and furniture. The term "swag" refers to a garland or wreath of flowers, foliage, or other decorative elements, which is usually arranged in a loop or curve.

    Floral swags can be found in a variety of decorative styles, from ornate Baroque and Rococo designs to more naturalistic Art Nouveau and Art Deco styles. They are often used to add a touch of elegance, refinement, or whimsy to an object, and can be seen on a range of items from chandeliers and candlesticks to picture frames and tea sets.

    In the decoration of silver objects, floral swags are often used to accentuate the curves and lines of the piece, and to add visual interest to the surface. Similarly, on glass objects, floral swags may be used to frame or highlight a particular area of the object, or to add a touch of color and delicacy.

    On furniture, floral swags can be found on a variety of pieces, from cabinets and armoires to chairs and sofas. They are often used to enhance the lines and curves of the furniture, and can be used to create a sense of movement and flow in the design.

    Overall, floral swags are a versatile decorative element that can be adapted to a range of styles and applications, and have been used in the decoration of various objects throughout history.
  • Finial - An architectural decoration, found on the upper parts of of an object. On furniture they are usually found on pediments, canopies and shelf supports. On smaller ceramic or silver items, such as spoons, they may decorate the top of the item itself, or the lid or cover where they provide a useful handle for removal.

    Finials have a variety of shapes and forms. They may be urn-shaped, baluster shaped round or spiral, but usually taper into an upper point. Many real life shapes may also be used as finials, such as pineapples, berries, pinecones, buds, lotus and acorns. Sometimes animals such as a lion are depicted, or fish and dolphins.

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