Friday, March 21, 2008

Faberge Eggs

In celebration of Easter, I thought it would be fitting to post about the master of egg decorating, Peter Carl Faberge. He created art in many forms but this article will focus only on his famous Faberge Eggs.

Many people collect “Faberge eggs” but, unless they are millionaires, they are not collecting the ones that Peter Carl Faberge and his studio created from 1885 to 1917. Those eggs are very hard to get and some have sold for nearly 10 million dollars! While modern “Faberge eggs” are beautiful works of art, I will only talk about those 69 eggs that Peter Carl Faberge himself had a hand in designing and creating.

The first egg was made as an Easter surprise for the wife of the Russian Tsar (ruler) Alexander III. From the outside, it looked like a regular egg. It was made of white enamel with a little band of gold around the center. The egg could be opened and inside was a golden yolk. When the yolk was opened, there was a gold hen sitting in a golden nest. Inside the hen (yes, the hen opened, too!) was a necklace with a little ruby egg and a diamond crown. Sounds like a nice Easter gift to me!
The Tsar’s wife loved her egg and from then on Alexander III gave her a custom-designed Faberge egg for Easter each year. When Alexander III’s son, Nicholas II, became tsar, he continued the tradition. He had Faberge create eggs for his wife and his mother each year at Easter.

Faberge made about fifteen eggs for wealthy collectors but the rest were made for the Russian royal family.

Shown above is the Blue Serpent Egg. Notice the Roman numerals around the upper part of the egg. The serpent’s head points to the time.


Next is the Azova Egg (above). I love the idea of a ship in an egg.

Look at the little carriage that came inside the Coronation Egg (above).

How gorgeous is the Lilies of the Valley Egg? Faberge designed it because he knew the Empress loved lilies of the valley, her favorite jewels were pearls, and her favorite color was pink. Wouldn’t you love someone to design an egg based on your favorite things? I think mine would be made of polished opal nestled in a base of tiger lilies. What would your Faberge egg look like?

Below are two more eggs that I really liked, The Clover Egg and the Peacock Egg.
The eggs of Peter Carl Faberge are worth millions of dollars. Faberge’s grandson, Theo Faberge, began making eggs in the second half of the 1900s. His were not one of a kind like those of his grandfather. Theo made a few hundred of each of his designs and sold them to the public. Each of his eggs is worth several thousand dollars, far less than Peter Carl Faberge's. Theo’s eggs are not as ornate and do not have as many pieces.

On Monday I’ll post more about the art of the ancient Egyptians. Until then, enjoy you weekend and your Easter. And for those of you on spring break (like me), enjoy your time off from school!

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5 comments:

crafter5 said...

Great choice of subject! We will be decorating our eggs this weekend - but they won't look like those or last past the weekend! Have a wonderful Easter!

Jessica said...

I bet they'll taste better, though! Enjoy your celebrations.

Kathy said...

Thanks for sharing all your great ideas. I'm planning to use some with my own children. Enjoy the rest of your break!
Kathy at www.restorationplace.typepad.com

Jessica said...

Thanks, Kathy! I'm glad you like my site. Judging by your blog, your seem inquisitive and interested in learning I hope they enjoy learning about some of the artists and doing the projects posted here. Have a great holiday weekend!

Peter said...

A great post on a great artist ... and a well chosen date!
(A pity you could not order your favorite egg!)