Desk seal with the coat of arms of the Chertkov family
Second half of the 19th century
Rutilated quartz. Height 63 mm
The type of mineral from which this seal was made is known as Venus hairstone.
It is clear quartz containing yellow-golden hair-like crystals.
The fashion for making seals that imprinted the family arms or a
monogram while also serving as a desk ornament was particularly
strong in Russia in the second half of the 19th century. The "preforms"
for such seals - in the form of vases, animal figures, little columns
and so on - were produced by Yekaterinburg craftsmen and the image
for the matrix was engraved to the customer's order. The craftsmen
tried to choose the most interesting, at times bizarre pieces of
stone for their works. The Chertkov seal is double-sided: the lower
matrix is for the coat of arms granted to the family in 1794, the
upper one for the surname.