I was absolutely delighted to attend the Christmas Drinks Party for debutantes, which was kindly hosted by Wartski. How could I resist such an opportunity to have a lovely evening surrounded by their extensive collection of fabulous fine jewels and Fabergé?
Wartski is located at14 Grafton Street, which sits just of Bond Street in London. The family-owned firm’s roots actually lie far away in Bangor, North Wales where it was founded in 1865 by Morris Wartski. Llandudno, a favourite spot of my own family, was then in fashion as a spa seaside resort and Wartski had established itself there by 1907, serving a colourful clientèle including the Marquis of Anglesey.
A shop in London swiftly followed and Morris Wartski’s son-in-law Emanuel Snowman was the first to purchase pieces confiscated by the Soviet Union in the revolution of 1917. In turn his son, A. Kenneth Snowman, added to the Wartski legacy and his specialist book The Art of Carl Fabergé was the first to be written upon the subject. When he passed in 2002 his son Nicholas Snowman took on the role of Chairman which he keeps to this day. So as you can see this is a company steeped in a deep and fascinating history.
We were delighted to be welcomed with a talk from the firm’s Managing Director Geoffrey Munn, who many will recognise as one of the learned experts on the Antiques Roadshow. He talked us through his book Tiaras – A History of Splendour with particular reference to the styles worn by debutantes of the past. When they were presented at court it used to be tradition for debutantes to wear an ostrich feather tiara, which I thought was a really lovely history.
There are so very many beautiful items in the collection. In the next photo you can see one of the girls trying on the most magnificent snake necklace. Each piece was dazzling with its own special history and many were still in their original boxes which are works of art in themselves.
I would very much like to thank Wartski, Geoffrey Munn and Kieran McCarthy for hosting our evening amongst such beautiful surroundings and for sharing their wide knowledge of fine jewellery and such a wonderful history of their company and enchanting collection with us.

Blog post and photography by Florrie Clarke, debutante of 2010.

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