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Miniature Art from Palekh, Mstera and Fedoskino

Elegant and affordable Russian brooches make unique gifts for moms, wives and grandmothers. Treat them to something special on Valentine's Day, Easter, wedding and birthdays, as well as Mother's Day and Christmas. They'll certainly be the "belles of the ball"!

Russian brooches, buttons and pins are exquisite miniature oil paintings from highly talented artists. Several centuries ago, miniatures achieved great status in the art world. Russian masters learned special techniques from England, Italy, and other great centers of art. Subject matter came from classical painting and included portraiture of the 18th-19th centuries as well as from folk art.

The production techniques include the application of several layers of paint, each fully dried and then coated with a transparent lacquer. Polishing is the final step. In the hands of an expert, the colors are rich, and the finished piece shimmers and glows. Painting can be on papier-mache, mother-of-pearl, or wood and can be inset into a handmade metal surround. Mother-of-pearl, both from fresh-water and the rivers, produces a wonderful dramatic quality. Gold, silver, bronze, and aluminum powders are frequently mixed with the oils. Many times the clasp is a safety pin embedded into the papier-mache or an old-fashioned Victorian-styled pin back. Each piece serves multiple functions: first, as affordable and wearable art, second, as frame-able art, and third, as an heirloom to pass on to younger family members. Each piece is generally signed by the artist and we add an elegant gift box.

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