I.P. Khlebnikov Jewelry Company created silver items, which to this day are the pride of Russian jewelry art and at the same time belong to world culture. Khlebnikov’s company produced products for all walks of life: from cutlery and tableware designed for the general public, to luxurious silver accessories presented to the royal family in honor of special events.
I.P. Khlebnikov Jewelry Company: how it all began
I.P. Khlebnikov’s jewelry factory began its work in 1869-1871. But about the early years of the life of the founder of the dynasty and the education he received, little information has been preserved: only the year of birth is known for certain – 1819. Most likely, the future entrepreneur gained his first experience by entering into the business of his father, who had a merchant certificate and a shop. Later, he devoted more than thirty years to the trade in diamonds, gold and silver jewelry, before coming up with the idea of translating his own creative ideas into precious metals.
Khlebnikov’s firm produced silver cutlery, jewelry, and cult objects. For the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, church utensils were created, including tabernacles, vessels for holy water, lamps. In the Moscow Kremlin, artisans designed two large iconostases.
Secular silver was created in the Russian historical style. The best examples in terms of style and genre diversity, the highest artistic level had a significant impact on the development of the jewelry market. Ordinary household items in the skilled hands of masters acquired a fabulous epic sound: the inkwell turned into the head of a knight, the samovar stood confidently on rooster’s paws, the shape of a firebird or a tower was guessed in the shape of a teapot.
The craftsmanship of the chasers reached the highest level – they managed to reproduce the texture of any materials in silver. At first glance, you cannot immediately determine that both the basket “wicker” of the vine and the linen napkin thrown over it are made of metal. The art of enamel brought the jewelry house even more fame: cloisonné; notched; painted; made on filigree with picturesque cutting.
The use of folk motifs and a colorful palette gave the dishes and decor items a unique spirit of Russian antiquity.
The knowledge and innate sense of beauty accumulated over the years of negocyanism gave the desired results: Khlebnikov glorified his surname, becoming a supplier first to the Grand Dukes, and then to the Russian imperial court. At the World Exhibitions, he received well-deserved awards, introducing Russian culture into fashion and raising the prestige of the state.
The prosperity of the Silver Age of Khlebnikov’s company
The four sons inherited the passion, energy and business acumen of their father: during his lifetime, they began to contribute to the expansion and technological re-equipment of production. This led to the transformation of the manufactory into the joint-stock company “Partnership for the production of silver, gold and jewelry IP Khlebnikov, sons and Co.”.
After the death of Ivan Petrovich in 1881, the heirs increased the authority of the factory, having mastered all the branches of goldsmithing known at that time and increasing the number of workers – silversmiths, chasers, coppersmiths, filigree workers, enamellers – up to 1000 people. Was created and its own “forge of personnel” – a school that trained draftsmen. Famous artists who created unique drawings and models were involved in cooperation: academician of painting Nikolai Nabokov, sculptor Yevgeny Lansere, architect Viktor Hartman.
The era of Art Nouveau gave impetus to the use of new artistic images, zoomorphic and floristic motives.
Closure of the I.P. Khlebnikov.
During the First World War, the company fulfilled its patriotic mission, fulfilling orders for the needs of the front. An advertisement in the Novoye Vremya newspaper for 1915 announced the release of products for the army: “Soldiers ‘and officers’ flasks made of tinned iron and copper. Small fluid flasks and respirators are available. Models and method of production are protected by the Ministry of Trade and Industry. ”
Until its closure in 1917, the business was exceptionally profitable. In 1918, the Moscow Platinum Plant was created on the production base of the nationalized factory, which marked the beginning of the jewelry industry of the Soviet era. The name of Khlebnikov is associated with the history of the Russian royal court, luxury, exclusivity, exclusivity, therefore the brand of the company on the product significantly increases its value. Antique auctions are a place where collectors can be lucky in the form of a fruit bowl, a vase or a drinking set from a great master.