This model of a spray of holly is designed about the artistic conceit of the trompe l’oeil, or that which fools the eye. The stem of the spray rests in a rock crystal vase, the idea of which is to imitate a glass container filled with transparent water. The chased gold stem of the spray rises from the imitative water, laden with red holly berries formed from carved pieces of coral. The branches culminate in nephrite—or jade—leaves. The conceit is successful: beautiful, natural materials of one kind have been employed as substitutes by the skilful artisan for yet other natural materials. Gold for bark, crystal for water, jade for leaves, and coral for ripe red berries.
While Karl Fabergé is perhaps best known for his Imperial Eggs, he produced many other types of items, flower models prime among them. This model follows the precedent set by Fabergé, and does so with exquisite materials and masterful craftsmanship.