RUSSIAN SILVER ARTELS (MOSCOW)
RUSSIAN SILVER ARTELS
The artels in Imperial Russia were semi formal co-operatives in different fields like agriculture, fishing, mining, timber industry and gold/silver smithing. Nowadays they are all forgotten except for the gold/silver artels due to the fine objects they produced and still exsist.
An artel is a factory but the opposite of mass production. It produced unique objects or pieces of art of very high quality. An artel could not have less than 5 owners/attendants. However, you were allowed to hire more people but only for a short limited period. An artel had its own rules and you were obliged to obey them. Everyone working there was collectively liable for all the operations in the artel. You could work in an artel from the age of 17 on.
All known master workshops or artels for silver, gold as well as icons with oklads and enamel cloisonné and guilloché objects towards the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century are listed in these pages, with details of styles used.
The artels' series of numbers is not complete. Until today there is no evidence of the existence of a silver artel carrying any of the following numbers: 10, 16, 17, 19, 21, 24, 27 or 30. Why the series of numbers is incomplete is not known.