Fabergé egg

Facts about Fabergé egg

We found 16 facts about Fabergé egg

The most expensive Easter eggs in the world

Fabergé eggs are the most expensive Easter eggs in the world, studded with jewels, hiding equally expensive surprises inside. The idea to create them was born in the 19th century in St. Petersburg, in the family jewelry company Fabergé.

By order of the Tsars of Russia, 52 eggs were created. Others were also created for private orders, not as original as the tsarist ones, but equally beautiful. The revolutionary turmoil of 1918 caused some of these unique treasures to be lost, perhaps irretrievably, although in 2022 four missing eggs hidden in the safe of a Russian oligarch were found.

Those that remain in Russian state collections can be admired, among others, in the Kremlin Armory or in the Fabergé Museum in St. Petersburg. Private owners who have Fabergé eggs in their collections can also enjoy their view.

Fabergé egg
Fabergé eggs are jeweled Easter eggs created by the jewelry company "Dom Fabergé " (Дом Фаберже) in St. Petersburg.

The Fabergé company was founded in St. Petersburg by Gustav Fabergé in 1842. The origins of the Fabergé family date back to 17th-century France.

The family left France after 1685 due to religious persecution (they were Huguenots, French Protestants), shortly after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes - it is estimated that about 250.000. Huguenots then became refugees.

Initially, the family's surname was Favri, but as they moved east the surname changed to Favry, Fabri, Fabrier, Faberges, and finally Fabergé.

Around 1800, the craftsman Pierre Favry (later Peter Fabrier) settled in Pärnu in Livonia (now Estonia).

In 1814, Gustave Fabrier was born there. By 1825 the family name had become Fabergé. In the 1830s, Gustav Fabergé moved to Saint Petersburg to train as a goldsmith in the workshop of Andreas Ferdinand Spiegel, who specialized in making gold boxes.

He continued his education at the famous Keibel company - a company of goldsmiths and jewelers of the tsars.

Gustav obtained the title of master goldsmith in 1841, and a year later, he opened his own jewelry company " Fabergé " in St. Petersburg.

Gustav married Charlotte Jungstedt, the daughter of an artist of Danish origin, with whom he had a son, Peter Carl Faberge. In 1860, the Fabergé family left for Dresden, leaving the company in the hands of managers from outside the Fabergé family.

Son Peter Carl was educated at a commercial school in Dresden, where he learned the secrets of marketing. He also learned the art of jewelry, among others, from the goldsmith Joseph Friedman in Frankfurt. Together with his friend Juliusz Butz, he set off on an apprentice journey around Europe, visiting, among others, France, Italy, Germany, and England. He visited the most important European museums.

In 1864, Peter Carl Faberge returned to St. Petersburg.

He was constantly improving his craftsmanship, learning, among other things, by repairing works of old goldsmithing in the Hermitage. He did this work for free.

In 1870, he started working in his father's company and took over its management within two years. He completely modernized the goldsmith's workshop and showroom. He employed the best goldsmiths who produced intricately made luxury products: snuff boxes, cigarette cases, mirrors, boxes, tableware, jewelry, etc.

After 1882, he introduced items made in a characteristic style, called the Fabergé style, to the company's assortment.

Peter Carl Fabergé was a perfectionist.

He did not produce jewels himself. He was mainly concerned with designing them, but he carefully checked each product. If he was dissatisfied with something, he took a hammer and broke the product.

The Fabergé workshop used the most expensive materials, metals, and precious stones. The master used to say that the value and craftsmanship of workmanship should exceed the cost of the materials used.

The craftsmanship of his workshop was appreciated at the Pan-Russian Industrial Exhibition in Moscow, where Fabergé received a gold medal for its products.

He was then noticed by the wife of Tsar Alexander III, Maria Feodorovna, and three years later Faberge became the tsar's jeweler.

The first egg was created by Fabergé in 1885.

It was ordered by Tsar Alexander III as an Easter surprise for his wife Maria Feodorovna. Since this year was the twentieth wedding anniversary of the Tsar's couple, the Tsar wanted to give his wife something special.

Fabergé created the first egg, the so-called "Chicken", which is covered with white enamel imitating a shell, and inside, in a yolk made of matte gold, there is a chicken made of colored gold. Inside the chicken, there is a small copy of the Tsar's crown made of gold with diamonds and a chain with a ruby pendant.

The empress was so delighted with the gift that Fabergé, already as the court jeweler, received an order for another egg every year.

Of course, it had to be special and had to contain some surprise inside. Until his death in 1894, Tsar Alexander III gave his wife more Fabergé eggs.

This tradition was continued by Alexander III's son, Nicholas II Alexandrovich Romanov. He gave Fabergé eggs not only to his wife, Alexandra Feodorovna, but also to his mother.

The first Easter egg Alexandra Feodorovna received from Nicholas II after her wedding. It was an egg decorated with ruby enamel and diamonds, inside there was a foldable yellow rosebud and a ruby necklace inside.

The egg was not Carl Fabergé's original idea.

The Fabergé egg was supposed to be an interpretation of an egg from the early 18th century, three copies of which are still known today. They are located: in Rosenborg Castle in Copenhagen, in the Kunsthistorische Museum in Vienna, and in private collections in Dresden.

Inside all these eggs there is a chicken hidden, and when you open it, you can find a crown and a ring inside it.

Fabergé was inspired by an egg from Rosenborg Castle in Copenhagen and it was a nod to the tsar's wife, Maria Feodorovna, because she was of Danish origin, and the precious gift was supposed to remind her of the country she came from and where she spent Easter.

Eggs were made of gold, silver, copper, nickel, palladium and decorated with precious stones, ivory and mother-of-pearl.

Their appearance referred to historical events and events in the life of the tsar's family (wars, coronation, opening of the Trans-Siberian Railway).

There was always a surprise inside. Even the tsar who ordered the gift did not know what was inside the egg. It happened that inside the egg there was a Swiss Vacheron Constantin watch, inlaid with precious stones.

The eggs were decorated with miniatures of the tsar's residences and images of members of the tsar's family. The coronation egg, which Nicholas II gave to his wife Alexandra in 1897, referred to the coronation dress (net ornament), inside there was a golden miniature of a carriage with ruby seats, rock crystal windows, and a crown on the roof - this egg is considered one of the most famous.

It took almost a year to make the egg.

The Fabergé House was a consortium of independent jewelry companies. Many jewelers working for Fabergé had their own companies, but they always treated participation in the creation of an Easter egg as a special distinction and honor.

Among the 24 masters collaborating on the projects, 14 came from Finland or worked at the invitation of their relatives. Not all designs were made by Carl Faberge, they were also made by other designers and jewelers. There was one woman on the team, Alma Pihl, who came up with "The Winter Egg."

Between 1885 and 1917, 52 eggs were created for the Tsarist dynasty.

Only during the Russo-Japanese War in 1904-1905 were no Easter eggs ordered. Tsarina Maria Feodorovna received 31 of them, and Tsarina Alexandra 21.

The series of imperial eggs enjoyed great fame, which is why other wealthy Russians also wanted to have them.

The Fabergé company made several pieces for private clients (about 15 are known). Among them, there is a series of seven eggs given to his wife by the millionaire owner of Siberian gold and platinum mines, Alexander Ferdynandowicz Kelch. The eight eggs were made by Fabergé at the request of Felix Yusupov, Alfred Nobel's nephew, the Rothschilds, the Duchess of Marlborough, and several unidentified people.

They are not original, they often contain elements previously used in Imperial eggs. It is believed that some Easter eggs made for private individuals were never documented.

Of the 71 known Fabergé eggs, 65 have survived to this day.

The vast majority are in state museums. 54 imperial eggs are known (42 have been preserved to this day), the rest are known from descriptions, accounts, and old photographs, and these eggs are believed to have been lost.

One of them may have left Russia in 1918 with the rightful owner in the luggage of Empress Maria Feodorovna, who left via Crimea for Denmark.

Most of them disappeared in the revolutionary confusion, and those that remained, along with other tsarist jewels, were transported to Moscow to the Kremlin. They remained there until 1930, when, in search of funds, 14 of them were sold on Stalin's orders (supposedly some for less than $400). Most of them were acquired by the American entrepreneur Armand Hammer and the Englishman Emanuel Snowman.

The largest collection of Fabergé eggs (10 Tsarist eggs) is kept in the Kremlin.

After that, the largest was the collection of New York tycoon Malcolm Forbes, which included a total of 15 eggs, including 11 Tsarist eggs. This collection was supposed to be auctioned in 2004, but a few days before it started, it was bought by the Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg.

Since 2013, it has been exhibited in the Fabergé Museum in St. Petersburg, created by Vekselberg.

Currently, Fabergé products command very high prices.

The first egg commissioned by Tsar Alexander cost approximately 4200 rubles. At that time, it was a huge amount, because even a well-earning government official or general could not afford such a trinket for an annual salary (an agricultural worker earned little more than a ruble a day).

The most expensive egg made for Tsar Nicholas II cost over 20.000 rubles.

Currently, the prices of Fabergé eggs are exorbitantly high, some of them are valued at $30-50 million. The most valuable is the coronation egg, whose value is estimated at $100 million.

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