Wartski is a family business specialising in works of art by Carl Fabergé, antique jewellery, silver and objets de vertu. It was founded by Morris Wartski in 1865, its first known premises located in Bangor, North Wales. By 1907, two shops had been established in Mostyn Street in the fashionable seaside town of Llandudno. Wartski thrived under the patronage of King Edward VII and a colourful clientele including the 5th Marquis of Angelsey, also known as the ‘Dancing Marquess.
In 1911, Emanuel Snowman, Morris Wartski’s son in law, opened a third branch in London. It was then that the firm began its long association with the work of Carl Fabergé. Snowman was one of a pioneering few who made purchases from the Soviet Government department, known as the Antiquariat, between 1927 until 1933. These included a variety of precious objects including the gold chalice given by Catherine the Great to the Cathedral of St. Aleksandr Nevskii Lavra (now in the Hillwood Museum in Washington DC). Amongst these transactions were numerous masterpieces by Carl Fabergé, including a several of the now famous Imperial Easter Eggs.
Since the early 1950’s, Wartski has built a reputation for scholarship within the trade. The late Kenneth Snowman published several books on Carl Fabergé, goldsmith’s work and jewellery, something which was continued by former managing director Geoffrey Munn when he joined the firm in 1972. He wrote widely about jewellery and goldsmith’s work, focusing in particular on 19th Century jewellery design, such as the work of firms Castellani and Giuliano.
Katherine Purcell and Kieran McCarthy are current joint managing directors.
Katherine is a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths, Vice-Chairman of the Society of Jewellery Historians and Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries. She specialises in French nineteenth century jewellery and works of art and has published numerous articles on the subject. She completed her book on the Parisian goldsmith Falize in 1999 and translated Henri Vever’s book ‘La Bijouterie Française au XIXe Siècle’ in 2001.
Kieran is a freeman of the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths’ and a Fellow of the Gemmological Association. He is a member of the advisory board of the Fabergé Museum in St. Petersburg and has widely published and lectured on the Imperial Russian Goldsmith’s work. He published his book ‘Fabergé in London: The British branch of the Imperial Russian Goldsmith’ in 2017.
They are joined on the board by fellow director Thomas Holman, a specialist in engraved gems and 19th and early 20th Century jewellery design. He curated the firm’s most recent exhibition on engraved gems entitled ‘Multum in Parvo: A Collection of Engraved Gems’ and wrote the accompanying catalogue. He also lectures about the history of jewellery and lapidary work.
In 2011, Wartski made the ring for the wedding of H.R.H Prince William and Miss Catherine Middleton. The ring was fashioned from a piece of Welsh gold given to Prince William by Her Majesty The Queen. In 2005, Wartski made the wedding rings for H.R.H The Prince of Wales and H.R.H The Duchess of Cornwall. They hold the warrants for Her Majesty The Queen and His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales.
60 St. James's Street