Jewelry, Works of art by Carl Fabergé, Antique Silver, Objets de Vertu
The firm was founded in Bangor, North Wales in 1865 by Morris Wartski, maternal great-grandfather of the present-day Chairman. By 1907, two shops had been established in the fashionable seaside resort of Llandudno. Emanuel Snowman, Morris Wartski’s son-in-law, opened another branch of the firm in London. He was among the first to negotiate with the government of the Soviet Union in the 1920s, purchasing treasures that had been confiscated after the revolution of 1917. The firm’s association with the work of the Imperial goldsmith Carl Faberge stems from this period. His son Kenneth Snowman built upon his father’s work, adding an academic dimension to the business through his pioneering research and exhibitions. His first book on Carl Fabergé was published in 1953 and his first survey of eighteenth century gold boxes, another specialist subject, in 1966. Since then long-standing members of the firm have published articles and books on their own specialist areas of antique jewellery and goldsmiths’ work, organizing associated exhibitions at Wartski. These have been devoted to Castellani, Giuliano, Falize, French nineteenth century jewellery, Russian jewellery, and Japonisme.
Wartski recently moved to 60 St. James's Street in September 2018. Located in a conservation area, the Neo Classical building with its wooden framed shop front conceals a minimalist interior designed by architects Waldo Works. The brutalist architecture harks back to the firm's Regent Street premises conceived by Sir Denys Lasdun, and its jesmonite-clad walls enhance the vividness of the enamels and goldsmith's work within the showcases. A private room in the form of an octagonal jewellery casket is lined with velvet and dominated by a portrait of Queen Alexandra, sister of Tsarina Marie Feodorovna, and great patroness of Carl Faberge.