A gift that likely won’t be under your tree this year
‘Tis the season for giving gifts, and the UM Archives and Special Collections has already unwrapped a very special present.
It’s a rare bit of tableware, from the House of Fabergé.
Yes, that Fabergé.
The previous item is a teacup holder, intricately hand-enameled with dazzling pink, blue, and green enamels inside hand-wrought silver floral designs. Only about 10 cm high, it’s stamped with the Fabergé factory Imperial Eagle (of Russia) hallmark and bears a mark of an unidentified Fabergé artist. It’s thought to date from 1889.
Brian Hubner, acquisitions and access archivist for UM Libraries, explains: “Although the Fabergé factory is more known for its famous jeweled ‘eggs,’ other fine jewelry items and tableware were produced, prized by collectors for their beauty of design and production.”
He adds: “This item was actually given by a donor a few years ago, but because of COVID, although it was briefly on display, few people had a chance to see it.”
The teacup holder was a gift to the father of the donor, alumnus Ely Bronstein (BA/70), as payment for medical treatment proffered in Shanghai, sometime in the 1930s. Dr. Gregor Bronstein and his wife Ada eventually moved out of China in 1952, and then relocated to Winnipeg in 1954.
“We greatly appreciate the generosity of Ely Bronstein in entrusting the University with this rare and precious object which was so important to the history of his family.”
“It’s really a magnificent work of art,” he adds.
There are no immediate plans to put the Fabergé teacup holder on display.