- Arts and Design
Peter Carl Faberge' and His Stunning, Jeweled Eggs
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.
- 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
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.
A Listing of the Missing Eggs
- Hen Egg with Sapphire Pendant (1886)
- Cherub with Chariot Egg (1888)
- Nécessaire Egg (1889)
- Twelve Monograms (Alexander III Portraits) Egg (1896)
- Mauve Egg (1897)
- Royal Danish (Jubilee) Egg (1903)
- 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.
Faberge Eggs, Part 1 of 5 (Rest Are on YouTube)
Eggs Commissioned by Alexander Ferdinandovich Kelch, a Russian Nobleman, for His WifeClick thumbnail to view full-size
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.