Mid 20th century
Ruby, green onyx, rock crystal, 18K gold; carving, polishing
Height 15.2 cm
Inspired by the flower studies of Faberge, this delightful and naturalistic composition features holly berries suggested by polished ruby beads, leaves rendered of carved and stippled green onyx, and a textured stem of 18K yellow gold emerging from an optically clear carved rock crystal vase. Holly was used in ancient Rome during the Saturnalia - ancient Roman festival in honour of the God Saturn. It was held on 17 December of the Julian calendar. Later, with the adoption Christianity the festivities expanded through to 25 December.
In the beliefs of the druids, holly symbolized the sun, so the ancient Gaels adorned their homes with the branches of this tree during the gloomy winter months. Until now, holly is considered a traditional Christmas tree, is widely used for decorations of dwelling, festive table, as basic material for making Christmas wreaths, and even sometimes is decorated instead of the "main" Christmas tree – a fur tree.