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Peter Carl Faberge' and His Stunning, Jeweled Eggs

Updated on September 19, 2017
These Faberge' eggs are on display in Saint Petersburg, Russia.
These Faberge' eggs are on display in Saint Petersburg, Russia. | Source

Many Important Things Occurred in 1846

The year 1846 was not uneventful - the sewing machine was patented; anesthetic ether was used for the first time by an American dentist; the United States declared war on Mexico; the saxophone was patented; and Peter Carl Faberge', who was to become a legendary jeweler, was born in Russia. He was the son of a St. Petersburg jeweler. While all of those events are important, this particular article addresses the many successes of the talented Peter Carl Faberge' (born Karl Gustavovich Fabergé) from 1885 to1917 when he began crafting the famous Faberge' Eggs.

How It All Began

Faberge inherited his father's jewelry business in 1870, and he quickly became known as a brilliant designer with word travelling eventually to Russian Imperials. It was the display of Faberge's pieces and his gold medal that was awarded in Moscow’s Pan-Russian Exhibition of 1882, that caused him first to be recognized and sought out by Russian nobility.

In 1885, Faberge' was commissioned by Tsar Alexander III of Russia to create an Easter egg for his wife, the Empress Maria Fedorovna. It became known as "The Hen Egg" and is crafted of gold. The Empress was so happy with the gift that Alexander appointed Fabergé a "Goldsmith by Special Appointment to the Imperial Crown" and commissioned another egg the following year. From that point on, Faberge' was given complete freedom with future Imperial designs, which were to become even more elaborate than the first.

Some Facts

  • A Fabergé egg is considered to be any one of sixty eight jewelled eggs made by Fabergé and his assistants for the Russian Tsars and private collectors between 1885 and 1917.
  • Fifty four of the eggs were made for Tsars Alexander III and Nicholas II, fifty two of which were presented as Easter eggs.
  • The eggs are made of precious metals or hard stones decorated with combinations of enamel and gem stones.
  • The term "Fabergé Egg" has become a synonym of luxury and the eggs are regarded as masterpieces of the jeweler's art.

The Coronation Egg and the Lilies of the Valley Egg

Imperial Coronation (1897).  by Emperor Nicholas II presented  this egg to his wife,  Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, as a memento of her arrival in Moscow on the day of their Coronation.
Imperial Coronation (1897). by Emperor Nicholas II presented this egg to his wife, Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, as a memento of her arrival in Moscow on the day of their Coronation.
Emperor Nicholas II also presented this Lilies of the Valley egg to his wife in a style she loved with the flower that was her favorite.  The 'surprise' inside was a trio of family photographs.
Emperor Nicholas II also presented this Lilies of the Valley egg to his wife in a style she loved with the flower that was her favorite. The 'surprise' inside was a trio of family photographs.

House of Faberge' Nationalized

Following the Russian Revolution, the House of Faberge' was nationalized by the Bolsheviks causing the Faberge family to flee to Switzerland. Peter Carl Faberge' died there in 1920.

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Memory of Azov Egg (1891)Diamond Trellis Egg (1892)Caucasus (1893)Renaissance (1894)Imperial Danish Palace (1890)
Memory of Azov Egg (1891)
Memory of Azov Egg (1891)
Diamond Trellis Egg (1892)
Diamond Trellis Egg (1892)
Caucasus (1893)
Caucasus (1893)
Renaissance (1894)
Renaissance (1894)
Imperial Danish Palace (1890)
Imperial Danish Palace (1890)
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The First Hen Egg (1885)  Note:  This egg is part of the permanent collection of the Faberge' Museum in Saint Petersburg, Russia.Third Imperial Egg (1887)  Note:  Presented by Alexander III Emperor and Autocrat of all the Russias to Empress Marie Feodorovna for Easter 1887.  As of 2014, it was in a private collection.
The First Hen Egg (1885)  Note:  This egg is part of the permanent collection of the Faberge' Museum in Saint Petersburg, Russia.
The First Hen Egg (1885) Note: This egg is part of the permanent collection of the Faberge' Museum in Saint Petersburg, Russia.
Third Imperial Egg (1887)  Note:  Presented by Alexander III Emperor and Autocrat of all the Russias to Empress Marie Feodorovna for Easter 1887.  As of 2014, it was in a private collection.
Third Imperial Egg (1887) Note: Presented by Alexander III Emperor and Autocrat of all the Russias to Empress Marie Feodorovna for Easter 1887. As of 2014, it was in a private collection.

A Listing of the Missing Eggs

  1. Hen Egg with Sapphire Pendant (1886)
  2. Cherub with Chariot Egg (1888)
  3. Nécessaire Egg (1889)
  4. Twelve Monograms (Alexander III Portraits) Egg (1896)
  5. Mauve Egg (1897)
  6. Royal Danish (Jubilee) Egg (1903)
  7. Alexander III Commemorative Egg (1909)

Note: I have chosen not to show photographs that represent the missing eggs because so little is known about them, or there are no known photographs of the actual eggs available, so any photographs would merely be replicas of what others believed the originals to look like.

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Pelican Egg (1898)Pansy Egg (1899)Bouquet of Lilies Clock Egg (1899)Third Imperial Egg (1887)  Note:  Presented by Alexander III Emperor and Autocrat of all the Russias to Empress Marie Feodorovna for Easter 1887.  As of 2014, it was in a private collection.
Pelican Egg (1898)
Pelican Egg (1898)
Pansy Egg (1899)
Pansy Egg (1899)
Bouquet of Lilies Clock Egg (1899)
Bouquet of Lilies Clock Egg (1899)
Third Imperial Egg (1887)  Note:  Presented by Alexander III Emperor and Autocrat of all the Russias to Empress Marie Feodorovna for Easter 1887.  As of 2014, it was in a private collection.
Third Imperial Egg (1887) Note: Presented by Alexander III Emperor and Autocrat of all the Russias to Empress Marie Feodorovna for Easter 1887. As of 2014, it was in a private collection.
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Rosebud Egg (1895)Blue Serpent Clock Egg (1895)Rock Crystal Egg (1896)Imperial Coronation Egg (1897)
Rosebud Egg (1895)
Rosebud Egg (1895)
Blue Serpent Clock Egg (1895)
Blue Serpent Clock Egg (1895)
Rock Crystal Egg (1896)
Rock Crystal Egg (1896)
Imperial Coronation Egg (1897)
Imperial Coronation Egg (1897)
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Trans-Siberian Railway Egg (1900)Basket of Flowers Egg (1901)  Note:  Queen Elizabeth II inherited this piece in 1953 from Mary of Teck and it remains in the Royal Collection.Gatchina Palace Egg (1901)Clover Leaf Egg (1902)Cockerel Egg (1900)
Trans-Siberian Railway Egg (1900)
Trans-Siberian Railway Egg (1900)
Basket of Flowers Egg (1901)  Note:  Queen Elizabeth II inherited this piece in 1953 from Mary of Teck and it remains in the Royal Collection.
Basket of Flowers Egg (1901) Note: Queen Elizabeth II inherited this piece in 1953 from Mary of Teck and it remains in the Royal Collection.
Gatchina Palace Egg (1901)
Gatchina Palace Egg (1901)
Clover Leaf Egg (1902)
Clover Leaf Egg (1902)
Cockerel Egg (1900)
Cockerel Egg (1900)
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Swan Egg (1906)Moscow Kremlin (1906)
Swan Egg (1906)
Swan Egg (1906)
Moscow Kremlin (1906)
Moscow Kremlin (1906)
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Rose Trellis Egg (1907)Love Trophies Egg (1907)  Note:  Also known as the "Cradle With Garlands" Egg.Alexander Palace Egg (1908)Peacock Egg (1908)Standart Yacht Egg (1909)
Rose Trellis Egg (1907)
Rose Trellis Egg (1907)
Love Trophies Egg (1907)  Note:  Also known as the "Cradle With Garlands" Egg.
Love Trophies Egg (1907) Note: Also known as the "Cradle With Garlands" Egg.
Alexander Palace Egg (1908)
Alexander Palace Egg (1908)
Peacock Egg (1908)
Peacock Egg (1908)
Standart Yacht Egg (1909)
Standart Yacht Egg (1909)
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Colonnade Egg (1910)Alexander III Equestrian Egg (1910)Fifteenth Anniversary Egg (1911)Bay Tree Egg (1911)
Colonnade Egg (1910)
Colonnade Egg (1910)
Alexander III Equestrian Egg (1910)
Alexander III Equestrian Egg (1910)
Fifteenth Anniversary Egg (1911)
Fifteenth Anniversary Egg (1911)
Bay Tree Egg (1911)
Bay Tree Egg (1911)
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Czarevich or Tsarevich Egg (1912)Napoleonic Egg (1912)Romanov Tercentenary Egg (1913)Winter Imperial Egg (1913)Mosaic Egg (1914)
Czarevich or Tsarevich Egg (1912)
Czarevich or Tsarevich Egg (1912)
Napoleonic Egg (1912)
Napoleonic Egg (1912)
Romanov Tercentenary Egg (1913)
Romanov Tercentenary Egg (1913)
Winter Imperial Egg (1913)
Winter Imperial Egg (1913)
Mosaic Egg (1914)
Mosaic Egg (1914)
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Grisaille Egg (1914)  Note:  Also known as the 'Catherine the Great' Egg.Red Cross with Triptych Egg (1915)Red Cross with Imperial Portraits EggSteel Military Egg (1916)Order of St. George Egg (1916)
Grisaille Egg (1914)  Note:  Also known as the 'Catherine the Great' Egg.
Grisaille Egg (1914) Note: Also known as the 'Catherine the Great' Egg.
Red Cross with Triptych Egg (1915)
Red Cross with Triptych Egg (1915)
Red Cross with Imperial Portraits Egg
Red Cross with Imperial Portraits Egg | Source
Steel Military Egg (1916)
Steel Military Egg (1916)
Order of St. George Egg (1916)
Order of St. George Egg (1916)
Karelian Birch Egg (1917)  Note:  This egg was due to be a present for the Tsar Nicholas II's mother, the Empress Maria Feodorovna, who never received it because of revolutionary conflicts.
Karelian Birch Egg (1917) Note: This egg was due to be a present for the Tsar Nicholas II's mother, the Empress Maria Feodorovna, who never received it because of revolutionary conflicts.
Constellation Egg (1917)  Note:  This egg was never completed because of the Russian Revolution.  The unfinished piece is on the left, and Faberge's original drawing of the planned piece is on the right.
Constellation Egg (1917) Note: This egg was never completed because of the Russian Revolution. The unfinished piece is on the left, and Faberge's original drawing of the planned piece is on the right.

Faberge Eggs, Part 1 of 5 (Rest Are on YouTube)

Eggs Commissioned by Alexander Ferdinandovich Kelch, a Russian Nobleman, for His Wife

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Kelch Chanticleer Egg (1904)Kelch Bonbonnire Egg (1903)Kelch Rocaille Egg (1902)Kelch Apple Blossom Egg (1901)
Kelch Chanticleer Egg (1904)
Kelch Chanticleer Egg (1904)
Kelch Bonbonnire Egg (1903)
Kelch Bonbonnire Egg (1903)
Kelch Rocaille Egg (1902)
Kelch Rocaille Egg (1902)
Kelch Apple Blossom Egg (1901)
Kelch Apple Blossom Egg (1901)
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Kelch Pine Cone Egg (1900)Kelch 12 Panel Egg (1899)Kelch Hen Egg (1898)
Kelch Pine Cone Egg (1900)
Kelch Pine Cone Egg (1900)
Kelch 12 Panel Egg (1899)
Kelch 12 Panel Egg (1899)
Kelch Hen Egg (1898)
Kelch Hen Egg (1898)

When You Want to Know Everything About the Faberge' Eggs

The book entitled "Fabergé Eggs: A Retrospective Encyclopedia" by Will Lowes and Christel Ludewig McCanless, is the best one I've found so far that gives in-depth information about all of the Faberge' eggs and where they are located today. A copy of it is available from Amazon below.


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