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Peter Carl Faberge' and His Stunning, Jeweled Eggs

Dorothy is a Master Gardener, former newspaper reporter, and the author of several books. Michael is a landscape/nature photographer in NM.

These Faberge' eggs are on display in Saint Petersburg, Russia.

These Faberge' eggs are on display in Saint Petersburg, Russia.

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; thesaxophone 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.

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.

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)

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.