A Russian gold locket and handseal in the form of a pudik

Fabergé, workmaster August Holmström, St. Petersburg, circa 1865-1870

In the form of a weight, the hinged body marked in Cyrillic "VF", and opening to reveal a locket section for photographs, the base inset with a lapis matrix engraved with noble arms (indistinct).

H: 7/8 in. Weight: 6.4 dwt.

Estimate $3,000-5,000

A "pudik" (or, a kettlebell-shaped weight in the smallest fraction of a "pood" or Russian pound) was a familiar form to Fabergé.

This gold locket and seal in the form of a "pudik" is virtually identical to another also by Holmström (sold Sotheby's London, 24 November 2008, Lot 29) which was likely a gift for Princess Thyra of Denmark from King George I to commemorate his wedding to the Russian Grand Duchess Olga Konstantinovna in St. Petersburg in October 1867.

The "pud" (or pood) is a Russian Imperial unit of measurment roughly equivalent to 36.11 pounds (16.38 kilograms). It was used throughout the Russian empire, and the unit itself is first mentioned as in use in the chronicles of the 12th century.

Together with other units of the Russian Imperial weights and measures system, the USSR officially abolished the pood in 1924, but interestingly, the "pood" survives today in modern Russian in the specific case of sports weights, such as kettlebells, which are cast in traditional multiples and fractions of 16kg.


Géza von Habsburg, Fabergé Hofjuwelier de Zaren, Munich, 1986, p. 150
Géza von Habsburg, Fabergé-Cartier Rivalen am Zarenhof, Munich, 2003, p. 219

Descriptions provided in both printed and on-line catalogue formats do not include condition reports. The absence of a condition statement does not imply that the lot is in perfect condition or completely free from wear and tear, imperfections or the effects of aging. Interested bidders are strongly encouraged to request a condition report on any lots upon which they intend to bid, prior to placing a bid. All transactions are governed by Freeman's Conditions of Sale.

Sold for $3,750 (buyer's premium included)