2023 Author: Leah Sherlock | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-11-27 12:28
Luxury, brilliance and splendor are the words that can accompany a conversation about Faberge eggs. An amazing collection created by eminent jewelers for the imperial court is now known all over the world. The history of Faberge eggs, numbering more than 100 years, is shrouded in mystery, and contains many facts, secrets and mysteries.
Who is Faberge?
Carl Faberge was born in 1846 in St. Petersburg. At a young age, he moved with his family to Germany, where he found his calling. He received jewelry lessons from the most famous masters of Germany, England and France. At the age of 26, Faberge returned to his homeland, where he got married and started working in a family jewelry company. At that time, his company was engaged in the restoration of various exhibits from the Hermitage. Karl decided to expand the activities of his company and decided to make original jewelry. In 1882, he made cufflinks commissioned by Alexander III, and three years later - the first egg, which made him famous all over the world. ATIn 1918, fearing arrest, the master fled Russia, first to Riga and then to Germany. The great jeweler could not recover from the shocks that he had to endure, and in 1920 he died of heart disease.
How did the famous collection come about?
The collection of Faberge eggs began with the creation of the first model in 1885. In those days, it was customary to present expensive gifts on the day of the resurrection of Christ. And, of course, the rulers of the Russian Empire gave royal gifts to their spouses. The first work was ordered by Alexander III as a gift for Easter to his wife Maria Feodorovna. The executor of the work was Carl Faberge, a well-known St. Petersburg jeweler of German origin at that time. A charming egg with a golden yolk, inside of which a chicken with a ruby crown was hidden, fell in love with the Empress, and Faberge was left at court as a court jeweler. Since then, every year the master has made a new egg with a surprise. After the death of Alexander III, the tradition of Easter gifts was preserved, and until 1917, Nicholas II gave Faberge eggs to his wife and mother every spring. To this day, many such products have been preserved in the treasuries of various private collections and museum funds. According to various documentary sources, a total of 71 copies of these original relics were made. Of these, 52 are for members of the imperial family. However, how many of them actually remain a mystery. The fact is that the works made by order of the emperor were included in official documents. Products made for private collections were preservedunrecorded. Therefore, many of the author's works remained unknown for a long time. A similar story is connected with the “Rothschild egg”, which has been stored for more than 100 years among the family property of customers. The whole world learned about the new work of the famous master only in 2007, when it was put up for sale.
Where are the rarities today?
Out of 71 models, only 62 have survived to this day. The rest of the works, known from old photographs, are considered lost. Most of the famous eggs are kept in state museums around the world: the USA, Monaco, Switzerland. After the execution of the royal family, many of Faberge's works were resold and ended up in private collections. During the years of his life, the American billionaire Forbes managed to buy out the largest number of jewelry works. Later, in 2004, the collection of eggs collected by the magnate was acquired by the Russian Vekselberg. Today, Faberge eggs in Russia can be seen in Moscow, in the Kremlin Armory. Here you can find not only the emperor's Easter gifts, but also other products created by Faberge: jewelry, watches, cigarette cases and various miniature figurines. Also, the Shuvalov Palace awaits you with an exhibition of works by a famous master in St. Petersburg. The Faberge eggs presented here are part of the private collection of Mr. Vekselberg. A series of famous eggs purchased from Forbes is replenished annually by the oligarch.
Most famous products
The works of the famous master are kept in museums of various countries, as well as in private individuals. Collectors all over the world follow the auctions of the popular jeweler, and treasure hunters dream of finding the lost imperial jewels. Let's see which works of Faberge are considered the most famous today.
An egg made of gold with an original surprise - a chicken and a ruby crown - was ordered by Alexander III as a gift for Easter 1885 to the Empress. Faberge created a copy of the model that Maria Feodorovna herself saw while still at an early age. The Danish egg was made from ivory and had a ring inside as a surprise. In memory of these childhood memories, a new work was done. The unique Faberge chicken figurine has a complex mechanism that opens access to the surprises hidden inside the product. The first is a miniature imperial crown, and the second is a chain with a pendant. To date, the second surprise is considered lost. After the death of the imperial family, the egg wandered around France, Germany, and America. Today, the work of the famous master is in the Vekselberg collection, which he bought from Forbes. Thus, the unique rarity returned to its homeland.
Another work of the eminent master. It was made in an unusual style for that time - neoclassicism. A rosebud is hidden inside the egg. The work was carried out by Faberge by order of Nicholas II for his wife, Alexandra Feodorovna, a native of the city of Darmstadt. Her hometown was famous for its wonderful rose garden, according to whichthe young empress was bored. In good memory of the images close to the heart, an original Easter gift was conceived. Hidden in the petals of the bud was a miniature crown and a ruby pendant. Both surprises are considered lost. The egg, along with the rest of the Forbes collection, was purchased by Vekselberg for almost $100 million.
Lilies of the valley
Egg made in Art Nouveau style of pink enamel, on a gold stand, with lilies of the valley made of pearls and gold, was presented to Empress Alexandra Feodorovna in 1898 as an Easter present. Like all the works of the popular master, it has its own original surprise. When you click on the pearls from the egg, medallions appear with the image of Nicholas II and his sisters: Princess Olga and Princess Tatiana. The emperor's medallion is crowned with a ruby and diamonds. The egg, which ended up in the Forbes collection, was also bought by Viktor Vekselberg. Today, "lilies of the valley" and other Faberge eggs, the exhibition of which is organized by the oligarch, can be viewed by anyone in St. Petersburg.
The largest of the Faberge eggs. Made by order of Nicholas II as a gift to his wife in 1906. The Easter figure is covered with white enamel on the bottom and decorated with a golden dome on top. The stand is made in the form of the Spasskaya Tower of the Kremlin, and through the windows you can see the interior of the cathedral. The Surprise Egg is a gold music box that plays Easter melodies. The emperor himself liked this music very much. The Moscow Kremlin is one of several works by the great master who never left Russia. Today the masterpiece can be seen in the Kremlin Armory.
A jade egg adorned with gold, precious stones, and miniature portraits of Nicholas II's children was presented to the Emperor's wife in 1908. Above each portrait, the capital letters of the names of the crown princes are laid out in diamonds. The surprise gift is a miniature model of the Alexander Palace, the country residence of Nicholas II. The palace, made of gold, silver and rock crystal, is mounted on a golden table. Today, the work is stored in the Kremlin Armory.
How much does a Faberge egg cost?
The works of the famous master are constantly rising in price. Over the more than 100-year history of jewelry masterpieces, their price has "jumped" by an average of 1000-3000 times. For example, it is known from documentary sources that the "Rothschild egg" in 1902 was estimated at 6,500 rubles. After 106 years, in 2008, it was bought for $12 million. The most expensive to date is the Coronation Egg. Made of gold and diamonds, with a surprise in the form of a miniature imperial carriage, it was made for the wife of Nicholas II in 1896. Then its cost was 6700 rubles. In 2004, the egg was sold to Vekselberg for $24 million. The Russian oligarch bought other Faberge eggs from the Forbes family, the total price of which was $100 million.
How much do copies of eggs costFaberge?
There are many handicrafts of the famous firm. Some of them are made by talented craftsmen. However, only the nominal Faberge brand increases the market value of the product. In 1990, an exhibition of fake jewelry works by the author was even organized in New York. One such copy, the Kelch Hen egg, was also purchased by Malcolm Forbes. Only many years later, researchers were able to prove the true authorship of the work. Today, copies of the works of the famous master can be purchased in many online stores. Visually, such models exactly repeat the works of Faberge. Eggs, photos of which are presented here, in this case can be purchased much cheaper. The cost of copies of "Chickens", "Lilies of the valley" or "Moscow Kremlin", depending on the material and complexity of the work, ranges from 1000 to 10,000 rubles. An interesting fact is that in 2008 it was decided to restore the Faberge company and start producing new collections of the famous eggs. At the moment, new products under the famous brand are produced by the talented French master Frederic Zaavi. Today, Faberge eggs are examples of high art and are valued by collectors around the world.
The jeweler with the French surname Faberge has become a real symbol of the lost imperial luxury. The annual Easter gifts that his firm made for the Romanov family are sought after by collectors all over the world
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