Russian Enamel

Port-bouquet (holder for flower bouquets)

    Port-bouquet (holder for flower bouquets)

    Russia, St. Petersburg

    last quarter of the 19th century

    Silver; enamel over filigree, filigree, repousse, gold-plating

    Height 16 cm

    Mark: "КК"; St Petersburg coat of arms; "84"


    Porte-bouquet in the form of a silver funnel with closed bottom end and with three folding legs. The entire surface of the porte-bouquet and its legs are decorated with metal repousse ground and stylized enamelled floral patterns over filigree in the Russian style; the pattern is comprised of eight-petal flowers, leaves and curls. The enamels colour scheme is based on the combination of red, turquoise, green, blue, white, lilac tints.


    Port-bouquet (French. port-bouquet, from porte – to carry, bouquet – a bunch of flowers) is a special accessory for keeping a small bouquet of fresh flowers consisting of the funnel with a soldered capsule filled with water where the stems of flowers are put.

    As early as in the 18th century bouquets made of gemstones were an essential attribute for the ladies taking part in the high society balls. In 1797, during the coronation of Paul I young Grand Princess Elizabeth Alexeievna, the spouse of the future Emperor Alexander I, wishing to complement her toilette attached fresh roses to the diamond flower on her chest. Such escapade caused the protest of new Empress Maria Feodorovna who took the rose and threw it on the floor. Twenty years later in July 1817, Grand Princess Alexandra Feodorovna repeated the experiment of Elizabeth Alexeievna by attaching one fresh rose to the belt with diamonds on the day of her wedding with future Emperor Nicholas I. This “gesture” (i.е. the combination of diamonds and fresh flowers) was taken quite well at the Court and later on it would comply with the tastes of the 19th century, and the ladies would start looking for the ways of long-term preservation of fresh plants in their hairdo, dresses or in a ball bouquet. At first the stems of the flowers were wrapped with fabric to keep moisture, but as early as in the 1850s stage director of Imperial Theaters N.I. Kulikov reported on an amazing gift to actresses – floral bouquets put into golden handles with diamond rings on the gold chain. Ref.: Т.B. Zabozlaeva. Jewelry in the Russian Culture in the 18th – 20th centuries: Dictionary (History. Terminology. Object world). St Petersburg, 2003. Pages 287-288.