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Monday, October 8, 2007


I was intrigued about what were those Faberge eggs really were so I made a little tour around Wikipedia and tried to find out something about them. I found out that the Fabergé egg is any one of sixty eight jewelled eggs made by Peter Carl Fabergé and his assistants for the Russian czars and private collectors between 1885 and 1917. Fifty four of the eggs were made for czars Alexander III and Nicholas II, fifty two of which were presented as Easter eggs. Seven of the eggs were made for the Kelch family of Moscow. 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.

Czar Alexander III commissioned the first as an anniversary present for his wife, Empress Maria Fyodorovna, on Easter Day of 1885. The enameled egg had charmed the Empress so much with its golden yoke, golden hen, miniature diamond crown and ruby egg inside so the czar ordered that a unique egg be made for her every Easter thereafter. After the czar died unexpectedly in 1894, his son Nicholas continued the tradition until the Russian Revolution in 1917. The revolutionists executed Nicholas and his family on July 17, 1918. The Order of St. George Egg left Russia with Maria Fyodorovna in 1918, but the rest, forgotten in the turmoil of the Russian Revolution, remained. Several disappeared in the looting, and the rest were boxed up in the vaults of Kremlin. In and after 1930, Stalin sold fourteen to raise cash, some for as little as US$400. Many of these were bought by Armand Hammer and Emmanuel Snowman of Wartski, the English Fabergé dealers.

As of 2006, just twenty-one eggs were still in Russia, most on display at the Kremlin Armory Museum. Fifteen eggs were purchased by Viktor Vekselberg in February 2004 from the Forbes family in New York City. The Vekselberg collection arrived in Russia in July 2004. Smaller collections are in the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, New Orleans Museum of Art, and other museums around the world. Four eggs are in private collections, and eight are still missing.

In modern times Victor Mayer, the inheritor of the Fabergé brand, creates "Fabergé eggs" that are inspired by the originals. He must be a very rich man.

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