Fabergé pieces are admired the world over as some of the most valuable royal treasures and exceptional examples of jewelry-work in existence. My interest in them was recently piqued when I came across a book about Fabergé in a secondhand book store.
I had always thought that fabergé was a type of material technique, such as cloissoné, and that it had been most famously used to make eggs for the royal family of Russia right before the Russian Revolution.
Discovering how off-base I was about the meaning of the term led me to do a little research, and once I started, I couldn’t stop! The unbelievable workmanship is truly astonishing, and thanks to the prolific output of the Fabergé workshop, there is an abundance of beauty to behold.
Fabergé is actually the last name of a family of jewelers who established the firm House of Fabergé in 1842. Peter Carl Fabergé (also known as Karl Gustavovich Fabergé) took over the business from his father, Gustav, in 1882. Shortly after, the firm was commissioned to create the Imperial eggs that brought them lasting fame.
Beginning in 1885, the so-called “Imperial” eggs were a standing order of Tsar Nicholas II, who presented one to both his wife and his mother every year.
Although as many as 69 eggs are rumored to have been created, many have been lost. The whereabouts of 57 are currently known.
Here’s a selection of some of my favorites…
I love this quote from Fabergé expert Kieran McCarthy: “Their daily lives were lived at such a height of luxury that you couldn't really excite them with anything of intrinsic value. It was always about the craftsmanship. This is what that object is about, this craftsmanship and demonstration of skill.”
It’s also good to remember that Fabergé made more than just eggs! Here are just a couple of beauties to give a sampler…
Who else hopes they find all the “missing” eggs so we have even more to ogle?