I have been saving the story, of the found Faberge egg, for you, for Easter; although, some of you would have already seen the story, in the papers, a couple of weeks ago…for those of you who haven’t, here goes:
A scrap metal dealer, from Midwest America, spotted the egg at a junk market and planned to melt it down and sell it for it’s gold value. What he didn’t realise, it was infact, a Faberge Egg from the Russian Imperial Court. He bought it for $14,000 (£8,000) and then to his dismay was unable to get anything near his investment for scrap. Despairing that he had made a bad deal, he went on-line and googled: “Vacheron Constantin Watch Egg” (the name was engraved on the egg) and discovered the treasure he had, sitting on his kitchen table, was a gift to Maria Feodorovna from her husband, Tsar Alexander III in 1887.
Found: Vacheron Constantin Watch Egg
Although there is great secrecy around who bought it from him and for how much; it is estimated that it sold for over £20 million. This was one of the eight eggs that have been lost from a collection of 50.
Tsar Alexander III, had given, his wife, Empress Maria her first Faberge egg for Easter, just two years earlier in 1885. It is known as the Hen Egg. It is made entirely from gold, with a white enamelled shell, which opens to reveal a golden yolk, which opens to reveal a golden hen, which opens to reveal a miniature diamond crown, with a ruby pendant hanging from it. The crown and pendant have unfortunately been lost.
The next year, Alexander asked Peter Carl Faberge (the royal jeweller) to create another egg and so the yearly tradition was born. His only specification was that it contain some kind of surprise.
“Their daily lives were lived at such a height of luxury that you couldn’t really excite them with anything of intrinsic value. It was always about the craftsmanship. This is what that object is about, this craftsmanship and demonstration of skill. If you’re not looking for it, you won’t see it,”
Kieran McCarthy, director of London’s Wartski antique dealer.
The tradition continued when Alexander’s son became Tsar Nicolas II in 1894 and he instructed Faberge to create two eggs a year. One for his wife and one for his mother.
Nearly all the eggs were stolen from The Russian Royal family during the Bolsehvik Revolution in 1917. On March 15th of that year, Tsar Nicholas II was forced to abdicate and a decree was passed ordering the arrest of the entire Romanov family. They were held captive in Siberia for more than a year. On July 17th, before the sun rose in the sky, Nicholas, his wife, Alexandra, along with their five children were executed in a basement.
The only member of the Romanov family to escape was his mother, the Dowager Empress Maria Fedorovna. She escaped from her homeland bringing the last imperial egg she ever received from her son: the Order of St. George Egg. When a button was pushed a picture of her son, Nicholas, was revealed.
Here are a selection of some of my favourites:
The Gatchina Palace Egg, a jewelled enamelled Easter egg from Nicholas II to his mother, Maria Feodorovan on Easter 1901The Gatchina Palace Egg
The Bouquet of Lilies Clock Egg made from Tsar Nicholas to his wife: the Czarina Alexandra Fyodorovna. Currently held in the Kremlin Armoury Museum in Moscow.
The Rose Trellis Egg, jewelled and enamelled. From Tsar Nicholas to his wife Alexandra, Easter 1907. The egg contained a surprise diamond necklace and an ivory miniature portrait of the tsarevich framed in diamonds, which is now lost.
If any of you, are in London this Easter, Harrods will be showcasing some of these Faberge eggs until April 21st. Including the famous Apple Blossom Egg, and numerous other Faberge treasures.
Which is your favourite?