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The Vladimir Mikhailov jewellery collection is made of precious metals characterized by a certain nobility and restraint in terms of colour: platinum, white gold, and green gold. The collection primarily features green gold – a variety of 14 karat gold, which is notable for its soft hue and higher precious metal content. This particular alloy is mainly known for being the most durable naturally-occurring alloy of pure gold and silver. It is the silver that lends this alloy its subtle olive shade, which mutes the yellow tones of the gold and the reddish hues of the copper.
In Europe, green gold first became popular at the time of the Industrial Revolution, in the eighteenth century, thanks to the emergence of a new technology called Quatre Couleurs. As a result, people began to take an interest in different shades of gold for the first time. Gold of various hues was used to create some highly complex works of art. Rococo bas-reliefs were based on subtle nuances of colour, whilst artists used them to paint pastoral scenes peopled with a host of characters, floral bouquets, and magnificent landscapes. Some of the most exquisite and valuable pieces, requiring virtuosic mastery, were created using this technique.
Carl Fabergé would later make use of the technology, as he sought to employ the artistic styles of his era. He revealed the beauty of these shades of gold to those in the upper echelons of society. The aristocracy began to have a high regard not only for pure gold, but also for the other hues of this precious metal. The archives tell us that Tsar Nicholas II presented his wife Alexandra Feodorovna with a gift of a brooch featuring a large diamond, set in diamond-encrusted platinum and green gold, on the occasion of the birth of one of their daughters.
The tradition of using green gold in jewellery was one that continued thereafter. Vladimir Mikhailov considers green gold to be a material with soft colour properties, such that it is possible to chart the interplay of the tones and half-tones and the dynamics of the lines. The restrained colour palette plays an important role in his work: it can help to reveal the artistic intent and convey all the depth of the Orthodox piece.