30.05.

1846: The famous Fabergé Eggs were originally Easter Eggs for the Russian Empress

1846: The famous Fabergé Eggs were originally Easter Eggs for the Russian Empress
Photo Credit To Wikipedia Commons / Danish Palaces Fabergé egg at Metropolitan Museum. The 10-panel screen with watercolor paintings of Danish palaces and imperial yachts is seen from behind

Story Highlights

  • Historical event
  • 30 May 1846
  • These eggs, made of gemstones and precious metals, now exceed the price of $10 million apiece and are probably the most luxurious decorative art collector's items worldwide.

On this day the famous Peter Carl Fabergé, world known as the craftsman of expensive “Fabergé eggs”, was born.

These eggs, made of gemstones and precious metals, now exceed the price of $10 million apiece and are probably the most luxurious decorative art collector’s items worldwide.

As many know, Fabergé eggs are associated primarily with the Russian Imperial Family. In fact, Peter Carl Fabergé was a jeweler who has lived and worked in the former capital of the Russian Empire – St. Petersburg.

Of course, many may wonder about his German name “Peter Carl” and his French surname “Fabergé”. The thing is that his family was actually originally from France, but emigrated because of their Huguenot (Calvinist) religion. First, they moved near Berlin (Prussian rulers were by faith also Calvinists, though they ruled over a Lutheran population).

The Fabergé family was partly Germanized there, but then moved further to the east – onto the territory of today’s Estonia (at that time within the borders of the Russian Empire). Eventually, they ended up in St. Petersburg, and the father of Peter Carl became a prominent jeweler. Thus, the son inherited his father’s craft.

The first Fabergé egg was made when Tsar Alexander III decided to give his wife, the empress, a specially decorated Easter egg in 1885.

Peter Carl Fabergé crafted ​​this egg from gold and its “shell” could opened to reveal special surprises inside (a golden yolk, which can be opened to reveal a small golden hen within, which also opened and contained a miniature imperial crown).

The empress loved the egg so much that the tsar appointed Fabergé a “goldsmith by special appointment to the Imperial Crown” and commissioned another egg the next year.

Thus started the production of increasingly elaborate eggs, year after year. Faberge was given the freedom to design, so not even the tsar knew how the new egg will look like. The only requirement was that each contains a miniature surprise.

In total, Fabergé produced 52 eggs for the imperial family before the Revolution, of which 42 have been preserved.

Except for the imperial family, Fabergé produced another 7 eggs for the Russian noble family Kelch, plus a further 7 for other rich clients (even for the Rothschild family). Each of these eggs is unique and presents a masterpiece of decorative arts and Jewelry.

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