When shopping for Russian antiques there are many different options available. Some, such as the creations of the house of Faberge are extremely rare and in most cases cost prohibitive but others are affordable souvenirs that can match any budget.
An obvious place to start with any round up of Russian antiques is with the wonderful creations from the house of Faberge.
The company are best known for their incredible Faberge eggs which were presented to the Tsar and Tsarina on an annual basis from 1885 but Faberge set up in business much earlier, in 1842. The firm was established by Gustav Faberge, who was succeeded by his son, Peter Carl, and in the early days of their existence, they were best known for producing all kinds of retail jewellery.
The first Faberge egg
In 1885, Tsar Alexander III commissioned Faberge to produce a bejewelled Easter Egg as a gift for his wife and the elaborate and delicate design was such a success that the company produced an Imperial egg on an almost annual basis until Faberge were nationalised by the Bolsheviks in 1918.
If you’re a collector of Russian antiques, tracking down a historical Faberge egg is a long and ultimately expensive business; the Rothschild Faberge Egg sold for nearly £9 million in 2007. However, the company name has changed hands and lent itself to a whole range of other products, including aftershave.
From 1989 onwards, fine jewellery has been produced once again and it is possible to buy modern Faberge creations at more achievable prices.
Samovars are among the most popular antiques for collectors all over the world and with prices starting from a few dollars, this is one souvenir that anyone can get hold of.
The Samovar is distinctively Russian and that is just another reason why the search for a Samovar proves so popular and many are still functional, if a little impractical.
The very first modern Samovar was produced in 1717 and by the end of the century, the Lisitsyn brothers set up the first factory to produce them on a wider, commercial basis.
The beauty of Samovars today is the fact that you can find them in almost any design and they can be as elaborate or as basic as you wish. The Samovar isn’t uniquely Russian, but nonetheless the Russian samovar remains one of the most sought after of today’s antiques from Russia.
If you’re looking for a modern and more affordable collectable, Vostok watches are a good option. Founded in 1942, the company is known for making highly reliable timepieces in a diverse range of styles.
Despite filing for bankruptcy in 2010, the company still produces watches, and they remain one of the most popular souvenirs in Russia today.
You can read more about Vostok watches and other brands in our article Russian Watches Inspired by the Soviet Era.
Other Russian antiques and collectables
There is, needless to say, a wide range of antiques both ancient and modern that are highly sought after: Russian military clothing and equipment, particularly from the Soviet era has a healthy market and fine Russian jewellery is also very much in demand (see our article on Russian diamonds for more on this).
If you’re starting our as an antique collector, Russia has such a rich and diverse range, you won’t be disappointed to delve a little further.