The designs for the Faberge eggs were influenced by the elaborately painted hard-boiled eggs given as gifts for Russian Orthodox Easter. Faberge eggs are crafted of precious metals, gemstones and delicate enameling work. Below is a bit of history about these rare and expensive eggs. which helps explain why they still make the ultimate Easter gift.
Compelling Egg History
Jeweler Peter Carl Faberge created his eggs between 1885 and 1917. His most famous clients were the Russian Tsars Alexander III and Nicolas II, who ordered the eggs each Easter for their loved ones. Only 50 of these "Imperial Faberge Eggs" were made, with 43 still accounted for. The Russian Revolution suspended further production.
Faberge also made eggs for a few wealthy private clients, including the Rothchild family and the Duchess of Marlborough. The Rothschild's egg is in the Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg, Russia, and the rest remain in private hands but keep an eye out at sites like http://buckscountyestatetraders.com/. They might show up.
Hidden Surprise Inside
Faberge eggs are not only cherished for their beauty, but for the surprises that were hidden inside many of them. Some of the most intricate were:
The Hen Egg - 1885
The first egg was a gift from Tsar Alexander III to Tsarina Maria Fedorovna, who was born in Denmark. The "egg within an egg" design mirrored an egg in the Danish royal collection and originally had a ruby crown and pendant. The gold and white eggs survived, but the rest was lost in the 1920s. The Hen Egg is in the collection of Viktor Vekselberg.
The Rosebud Egg - 1895
A gift from Nicolas II to his new bride Alexandra, the Rosebud Egg was encrusted with diamonds and rubies. The top of the egg flipped open to reveal an enameled yellow rosebud with a tiny Imperial crown made of diamonds. Viktor Vekselberg owns this egg as well.
The Coronation Egg - 1897
Nicolas and Alexandra were crowned as Tsar and Tsarina of Russia in 1896. In 1897, Faberge finished the elaborate Coronation Egg. The egg was covered with yellow enameling, diamonds and gold bands that formed a pattern. Inside was a minute replica of the carriage that carried the Royal couple to their coronation. Measuring barely four inches long, the "Cinderella" style carriage was made of gold and encrusted with diamonds. It took Faberge 15 months to complete the carriage, complete with tiny steps that would fall into place when the door was open, just like on the real thing. This egg is also part of Viktor Vekselberg's collection.
The Alexander Palace Egg - 1908
The Alexander Palace Egg also uses art to imitate life. Sitting on a gold filigree pedestal, the green enameled, diamond encrusted egg opened to reveal a 2.5-inch miniature of the couple's country residence. Around the outside of the egg are miniature portraits. This egg is in the Kremlin Armoury, Moscow, Russia.
Faberge Eggs by Victor Mayer
Victor Mayer, a German jeweler, was licensed by Faberge to create heirloom eggs between 1989 and 2009. These eggs carry the Faberge logo, but also a "VM" to indicate they are from the Victor Mayer years. Egg-inspired jewelry was also created. In 2007, a special Royal Collection of these eggs was made to commemorate the 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh. All 21 eggs were immediately sold out.
Next Generation Faberge Egg
In February of 2015, the Faberge Company released its first Imperial Egg since 1917. The Faberge Pearl Egg is made of white and yellow gold and encrusted with 139 white pearls, 3,305 diamonds, rock crystal and mother-of-pearl. The egg opens like a flower, petal by petal, to reveal a grey pearl weighing 12.17 carats. The egg comes with a necklace of pearls and diamonds, complete with a white pearl drop weighing 19.44 carats. No price is listed, but inquiries are welcome.