Monday, 28 July 2014

Faberge Eggs



I seem to have known of the existence of Faberge Eggs forever – but it is only recently that I read up on them and realised just how intertwined with Russian history they are.
The Hen Egg - the very first Imperial Egg
 
It was traditional to give eggs as presents at Easter and the Czar (Alexander III) started a tradition of giving a jewelled Faberge Egg to his Czarina every Easter.  These were just any old eggs – they were ornately jewelled inside and out – and each one opened up to show a surprise element personal to the Czarina.  So each one of the Imperial Eggs was a one-off.
After that Czar died his son Nicolas (who was the Czar killed at the time of the Revolution) kept up the tradition by continuing to give his mother an egg but also giving his wife the new Czarina one as well.
 
Lily of the Valley
The original cost of each egg was a trifle to the weathy Romanovs.  And certainly was very little compared to what each egg is worth now.  The last sale was for around $10million US!
It wasn't until 1900 that Faberge became famous outside Russia as a result of the exposition in Paris that year.
 
Alexander Palace - yes that miniature of the palace was in the egg!
The first non-Russian to commission an egg was the Duchess of Marlborough – who was born a Vanderbilt. 
Order of St George
 
The last Imperial Egg was made in 1916 – the Revolution was in early 1917 so that was that.  The Faberges mostly escaped to the West but all the eggs remaining in Russia were seized and many were sold.  Only 10 remain in public hands in Russia.

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