Fabergé eggs are true jewelry treasures, famous for their beauty and sophistication.
The tradition began in 1885 when Tsar Alexander III commissioned Peter Carl Fabergé to make a jeweled egg for his wife Maria Fedorovna. What began as a one-off commission soon became an annual Romanov family tradition.
The first egg in the collection was the hen's egg. Made from dull white enamel, this egg appears simple at first glance. However, when you open it, you discover a dull yellow yolk. This yellow contains an enamelled golden goose that once held a replica of the Russian imperial crown, with an egg-shaped ruby pendant inside. Empress Marie was so enchanted by this gift that she decided to make Fabergé the official supplier to the court.
Fabergé, whose father Gustav had founded the company of the same name, created a total of 50 eggs for the royal family. He had complete creative control and kept the details of each egg secret, even from the Tsar himself. Each egg had to contain a surprise and took around a year to make. Fabergé was known as the “maker of jewelry fantasies” for his exceptional creativity and craftsmanship.
However, although Fabergé helped design and supervise the creation of the eggs, he was not responsible for their manufacture. A team of goldsmiths, jewelers, designers and other specialists meticulously crafted each piece. Each member of the team was given a great deal of artistic freedom, giving the eggs an exceptional quality.
Fabergé's imperial eggs soon became famous the world over. The jeweler also created fifteen other eggs for private clients. Unfortunately, the Russian Revolution of 1917 interrupted this tradition. Tsar Nicholas II abdicated in March of that year, and the eggs were never delivered. Fabergé's workshop was taken over by the Bolshevik government, and Fabergé himself went into exile in Switzerland, where he died in 1920.
Of all Fabergé's imperial eggs, some are particularly noteworthy. The Winter Egg, for example, is one of the most precious in the collection. It is adorned with 3,000 diamonds and features platinum ice crystals etched into its shell. Inside is a bouquet of gold and garnet flowers representing spring. This egg was sold at auction in 2002 for the impressive sum of $9.6 million to a private collector.
The Coronation Egg is another Fabergé treasure. Presented by Tsar Nicholas II to Empress Alexandra to celebrate her coronation in 1896, it features a multicolored gold outer case adorned with translucent yellow guilloché enamel and black enamel diamonds. The egg opens to reveal a miniature gold enamel and diamond replica of Buckendahl's original 18th-century carriage. It is now part of the Viktor Vekselberg collection at the Fabergé Museum in St. Petersburg.
Other notable eggs include the Lily of the Valley egg, given by Nicholas II to Alexandra in 1898, and the Rosebud egg, Nicholas II's first gift to his wife after their marriage. These spectacular and iconic eggs are extraordinary examples of Fabergé's art.
Fabergé eggs are objects of incomparable rarity and beauty. They bear witness to the exceptional talent and creativity of Peter Carl Fabergé, who created unique pieces for the Russian royal family. Today, these eggs are considered historical treasures and are admired by collectors the world over.
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