The Orloff silver service is made in Paris from 1770 to 1773. A tureen weighing 11960 grams was sold for € 1.78M including premium by Christie's on November 8, 2013.
The growing interest in luxury attracts foreign silversmiths in St. Petersburg. Iwar Wenfeldt Buch, accepted into the guild in 1776, executes liturgical pieces and tea services in silver and gold for the imperial family. His style is neoclassical.
In 1798, the two elder daughters of Emperor Paul I, Alexandra and Elena, are pretty girls 15 and 14 years old ready to be married. The negotiations are successful for Elena Pavlovna with the heir to the Grand Duchy of Mecklenburg-Schwerin and for Alexandra with a Habsburg prince.
The imperial family prepares dowries without waiting for the proclamation of the marriages. Buch realizes for Elena a tea and coffee service in two colors of gold. Gold is prepared by melting pieces provided by the court from the imperial treasure. The documents recording these decisions have been retrieved in the imperial archives.
The service is presented to Elena at the beginning of 1799. Remaining complete of its thirteen pieces including a significant grand cabaret (tray) for a total gold weight of 7433 grams, it is estimated $ 1.5M for sale by Christie's in New York on April 13, lot 15.
The two princesses married their princes in October 1799.