Imperial State University graduate badge, miniature, 1899- 1908.
Silver gilt, solid 14 K gold (eagle and wreath), enamels. Measures 32.6 mm in height (including the eagle), 17.3 mm in width; weighs 4.9 g without wing nut, 6.1 g overall. The badge consists of four separate main parts: the diamond-shaped base in silver with white enamel, the silver cross with blue enamel, golden wreath attached to the top of the blue cross, and golden double-headed eagle attached to the extension at the top of the white diamond.
The reverse shows sterling silver hallmark "88" with the early style Kokoshnik facing left and initials of the assay inspector (the latter are poorly struck and illegible.) The style of the hallmark indicates the period of manufacture between 1899 and 1908. Note that the silver purity grade is 88 as opposed to more common 84, which is indicative of higher quality items. The reverse of the diamond also has a clearly stamped Cyrillic hallmark KБ of an unknown maker. The wreath and eagle, although unmarked, are made in solid gold of no less than 14 K grade.
In very fine condition. The cobalt blue enamel on the cross has surface chips and flaking. The damage however penetrates to silver only in two very tiny spots and is therefore not too detractive; the blue enamel still appears nearly intact to the naked eye. The white enamel shows beautiful luster and is practically pristine aside from superficial flaking under the wreath (which may have occurred during the manufacture.) The details of wreath and extremely well preserved and crisp: even the figure of St. George in the center is clearly recognizable. As is often the case, the exposed top part of the cross on the eagle's crown has been clipped (or simply left unfinished by the manufacturer). Of course this tiny detail does not affect the overall appearance from this very impressive badge. Some of the original fire gilt finish is clearly visible on the reverse and edges of the badge.
The screw post is full or near full length (for a miniature), approx. 9-mm long. It comes with a silver wing nut that has different maker mark, ИА, so it is obviously not original to the badge although clearly of the period. The wing nut is deformed, with one of its "wing" loops broken and another flattened, but it nevertheless functions perfectly with the screw post of the badge.
Overall, an attractive university graduate's lapel badge of uncommonly fine quality.
Please note, penny in our photo is for size reference.