This summer St. Petersburg was abuzz with rumors that Andrei Ananov, the city's most celebrated jeweler, had retired after 20 years of creating his famous fine baubles. Nothing of the sort was true. He had simply given up his shop on Nevsky Prospekt and moved to a three-story building he designed himself, on the Petrograd side of town, where the entire production process now takes place.
Ananov remains the firm's chief designer, turning out pieces that are widely admired as well as criticized as "Fabergé rip-offs." His detractors do have a point—he's best known for designing Easter eggs in the style of his famed predecessors. But at prices of up to $1 million, they do fancy themselves fine art craftsmanship. He also makes accessories for men and women, such as colorful bracelets with painstakingly painted enamel that are not infrequently laden with diamonds.
While perhaps unoriginal, Ananov is indisputably a master of his craft. And in a country where the consumer's allegiance is first and foremost to major international brands, the House of Ananov is appealingly, sparklingly quaint. At 7 Michurinskaya Ulitsa; 7-812/ 235-4251; ananov.com.