Fabergé egg facts for kids
A Fabergé egg is one of the jewelled eggs made by Peter Carl Fabergé and his company between 1885 and 1917.
The most famous are those made for the Russian Tsars Alexander III and Nicholas II. They were Easter gifts for their wives and mothers, and are called the 'Imperial' Fabergé eggs. The House of Fabergé made about 50 eggs, of which 43 have survived. Two more were planned for Easter 1918, but were not delivered, due to the Russian Revolution.
The first Fabergé egg was crafted for Tsar Alexander III, who had decided to give his wife, the Empress Maria Fedorovna, an Easter egg in 1885, possibly to celebrate the 20th anniversary of their betrothal. Although there is no official record of the Tsar's inspiration for it, many believe that he was moved by an egg owned by the Empress’s aunt, Princess Vilhelmine Marie of Denmark, which had captivated Maria’s imagination in her childhood and of which the Tsar was well aware. Known as the Hen Egg, the very first Fabergé egg is crafted from a foundation of gold. Its opaque white enameled "shell" opens to reveal a matte yellow-gold yolk. This in turn opens to reveal a multicolored gold hen that also opens. The hen contained a minute diamond replica of the imperial crown from which a small ruby pendant was suspended, but these last two elements have been lost.
Maria was so delighted by the gift that Alexander appointed Fabergé a "goldsmith by special appointment to the Imperial Crown" and commissioned another egg the next year. After that, Peter Carl Fabergé was apparently given complete freedom for the design of future imperial Easter eggs, and their designs became more elaborate. According to Fabergé family lore, not even the Tsar knew what form they would take—the only requirements were that each contain a surprise, and that each be unique. Once Fabergé had approved an initial design, the work was carried out by a team of craftsmen, among them Michael Perkhin, Henrik Wigström and Erik August Kollin.
After Alexander III's death on 1 November 1894, his son, Nicholas II, presented a Fabergé egg to both his wife, Alexandra Fedorovna, and his mother, the Dowager Empress Maria Fedorovna. Records have shown that of the 50 imperial Easter eggs, 20 were given to the former and 30 to the latter. Eggs were made each year except 1904 and 1905, during the Russo-Japanese War.
The imperial eggs enjoyed great fame, and Fabergé was commissioned to make similar eggs for a few private clients, including the Duchess of Marlborough, the Rothschild family and the Yusupovs. Fabergé was also commissioned to make twelve eggs for the industrialist Alexander Kelch, though only seven appear to have been completed.
Following the revolution and the nationalization of the Fabergé workshop in St. Petersburg by the bolsheviks in 1918, the Fabergé family left Russia. The Fabergé trademark has since been sold several times and several companies have retailed egg-related merchandise using the Fabergé name. The Victor Mayer jewelry company produced limited edition heirloom quality Fabergé eggs authorized under Unilever's license from 1998 to 2009. The trademark is now owned by Fabergé Limited, which makes egg-themed jewellery.
In 2015 the owners of this trademark announced the creation of a new "Fabergé" egg, one styled by them as belonging to the "Imperial Class" of eggs and therefore the first Imperial-Class egg in 100 years: the Fabergé Pearl egg is to be sold in Qatar following a five-day exhibition some time in 2017. A spokesperson for the brand said it expected the egg to fetch at least two million US dollars, possibly much more. Despite its designation as "Imperial", it has no connection to Imperial Russia and instead has become closely tied to wealthy Arab ruling families of various Gulf Nations. Its motif has been described as "scalloped", but the patterns of its curves and lines are also clearly derived from the girih and arabesque of Islamic interlace patterns, and each of its six vertical segments includes a stylized pointed dome and associated pendentives reminiscent of the onion dome and ceiling of an Arabic mosque.
List of Fabergé Tsar Imperial Easter eggs
Below is a list of the eggs made for the Russian imperial family.
List of the eggs
|1885||Hen egg||Also known as the Jewelled Hen Egg, it was the first in a series of 54 jeweled eggs made for the Russian Imperial family under Peter Carl Fabergé's supervision. The tsarina and the tsar enjoyed the egg so much that Alexander III ordered a new egg from Fabergé for his wife every Easter||Viktor Vekselberg|
|1886||Hen egg with sapphire pendant||Also known as the Egg with hen in basket, it was made in 1886 for Alexander III, who presented it to his wife, the Empress Maria Feodorovna||LOST|
|1887||Third Imperial egg||A jewelled and ridged yellow gold egg with Vacheron & Constantin watch. It is on its original tripod pedestal. In 2014, it was bought by London-based jeweler Wartski on behalf of a private collector.||Private Collection|
|1888||Cherub with chariot egg||Also known as the Angel with egg in chariot, made and delivered in 1888 to Alexander III. This is one of the lost Imperial eggs. Few details are known about it||LOST|
|1889||Nécessaire egg||Crafted and delivered to Alexander III, who presented it to his wife, Maria Feodorovna, on Easter 1889.||LOST|
|1890||Danish palaces egg||Crafted and delivered to Alexander III, who presented it to his wife, Maria Feodorovna, on Easter 1890.||Matilda Geddings Gray Foundation.|
|1891||Memory of Azov egg||Kremlin Armoury, Moscow, Russia|
|1892||Diamond trellis egg||Private collection|
|1893||Caucasus egg||Matilda Geddings Gray Foundation.|
|1894||Renaissance egg||Viktor Vekselberg|
|1895||Rosebud egg||Viktor Vekselberg|
|1895||Blue serpent clock egg||Before March 2014 mistaken for the third imperial egg||Albert II of Monaco collection, Monte-Carlo, Monaco|
|1896||Rock crystal egg||Also known as the revolving miniatures egg||Virginia Museum of Fine Arts|
|1896||Twelve monograms||Also known as the Alexander III portraits egg. Surprise is missing.||Hillwood Museum, Washington D.C.|
|1897||Imperial Coronation egg||Viktor Vekselberg|
|1897||Mauve||Only the egg's surprise has survived.||LOST
|1898||Lilies of the Valley egg||The egg is one of two in Art Nouveau style. It was presented on April 5 to Tsar Nicholas II, and was used as a gift to the tsaritsa, Empress Alexandra Fyodorovna.||Viktor Vekselberg|
|1898||Pelican egg||Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, Virginia, USA|
|1899||Bouquet of lilies clock egg||Kremlin Armoury, Moscow|
|1899||Pansy egg||Private Collection|
|1900||Trans-Siberian Railway egg||Kremlin Armoury, Moscow|
|1900||Cockerel egg||Viktor Vekselberg|
|1901||Basket of wild flowers||Royal Collection, London, United Kingdom|
|1901||Gatchina Palace egg||Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, Maryland|
|1902||Clover leaf egg||Kremlin Armoury, Moscow|
|1902||Empire nephrite egg||LOST|
|1903||Peter the Great egg||Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, Virginia, USA|
|1903||Royal Danish egg||LOST|
|1904||No eggs made|
|1905||No eggs made|
|1906||Moscow Kremlin egg||Kremlin Armoury, Moscow|
|1906||Swan egg||Edouard and Maurice Sandoz Foundation, Switzerland|
|1907||Rose trellis egg||Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, Maryland, USA|
|1907||Love trophies egg or 'Cradle with garlands' egg||Private Collection|
|1908||Alexander Palace egg||Kremlin Armoury, Moscow|
|1908||Peacock egg)||Edouard and Maurice Sandoz Foundation, Switzerland|
|1909||Standart yacht egg||Kremlin Armoury, Moscow|
|1909||Alexander III commemorative egg||LOST|
|1910||Colonnade egg||Royal Collection, London|
|1910||Alexander III equestrian egg)||Kremlin Armoury, Moscow|
|1911||Fifteenth anniversary egg||Viktor Vekselberg|
|1911||Bay tree egg||Also known as the Orange tree egg||Viktor Vekselberg|
|1912||Tsarevich egg||Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, Virginia|
|1912||Napoleonic egg||Matilda Geddings Gray Foundation. Displayed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York|
|1913||Romanov tercentenary egg||Kremlin Armoury, Moscow|
|1913||Winter egg||The State of Qatar|
|1914||Mosaic egg||Royal Collection, London|
|1914||Grisaille egg or Catherine the Great egg||The egg was made by Henrik Wigström, Fabergé's last head workmaster. It was given to Maria Fedrovna by her son Nicholas II. Its surprise (now lost) was "a mechanical sedan chair, carried by two blackamoors, with Catherine the Great seated inside".||Hillwood Museum, Washington, D.C., USA|
|1915||Red Cross with triptych egg||Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, Ohio|
|1915||Red Cross with imperial portraits||Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, Virginia|
|1916||Steel military egg||Kremlin Armoury, Moscow|
|1916||Order of St. George egg||Made during World War I, the egg commemorates the Order of St. George awarded to Emperor Nicholas and his son, the Grand Duke Alexei Nikolaievich. This and the previous egg were given a modest design in keeping with the austerity of World War I. Fabergé billed 13,347 rubles for the two. The Order of St. George egg left Bolshevik Russia with its original recipient, the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna.||Viktor Vekselberg|
|1917||Karelian birch egg||Made in 1917, the egg was due to be completed and delivered to the tsar that Easter, as a present for his mother, the Empress Maria Feodorovna. Before the egg could be delivered, the February Revolution took place and Nicholas II was forced to abdicate on March 15. On April 25, Fabergé sent the Tsar an invoice for the egg, addressing Nicholas II not as "Tsar of all the Russians" but as "Mr. Romanov, Nikolai Aleksandrovich". Nicholas paid 12,500 rubles. The egg was sent to Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich at his palace, for presentation to the empress, but the duke fled before it arrived. The egg remained in the palace until it was looted after the October Revolution.||Alexander Ivanov. Displayed at Ivanov's Fabergé Museum in Baden-Baden, Germany.|
|1917||Constellation egg||Because of the Russian Revolution, this egg was never finished or presented to Tsar Nicholas's wife, the Tsaritsa Alexandra Feodorovna. Two eggs have claims to be the Constellation egg: one held at Fersman Mineralogical Museum in Moscow and the other in the possession of Alexander Ivanov and displayed at Ivanov's Fabergé Museum in Baden-Baden, Germany.||Fersman Mineralogical Museum, Moscow or the Fabergé Museum in Baden-Baden.|
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