Saturday, April 04, 2015

Fabergé: The Ultimate Easter Eggs

Growing up with Roman Catholic Easter traditions left me greatly confused about the whole Easter egg thing. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE chocolate! But as a kid, I failed to see the correlation between the brightly colored eggs and the resurrection of Christ. It would only be later in life that I would understand that other denominations of Christianity saw eggs as a symbol of rebirth and in turn the resurrection. Over the course of centuries, Orthodox Christians would offer eggs to their loved ones; evolving from humble painted wooden eggs, to glass and even porcelain. For those who would attend the courts of Eastern Europe, this tradition would develop into an increasingly bejeweled phenomenon and no offering was more intricate and astounding than that of the Russian Czars.

In keeping with Russian royal splendor, the Czar Alexander III originally commissioned Peter Carl Fabergé to create an jeweled egg for his wife the Empress Maria Feodorovna as a gift for Easter. Each year, she would be presented with a new creation. Upon the death of the Czar, his son Nicholas II would take up the tradition, offering an egg not only for the Dowager Empress Maria, but also for his own wife Empress Alexandra Feodorovna. In total, 50 eggs were created, though only 43 have survived.

Since we are enjoying our own Easter weekend, we wanted to share some of our personal favorites of this famed collection.

The Imperial Revolving Miniatures Egg. Photo courtesy of Katherine Wetzel/Virginia Museum of Fine Arts via
The Imperial Revolving Miniatures Egg made in 1896 for Empress Alexandra is an earlier example of Fabergé’s creations; it is nonetheless incredibly ornate. This egg is made of rock crystal (crystalline quartz) and is held together by a band of enamel that is encrusted with rose-cut diamonds. Atop this egg sits a 27 carat Siberian emerald cabochon. The base, though primarily enameled, also consists of numerous rows of rose-cut diamonds. The surprise, though not as secret as usual (given the transparency of the shell) is a set of 12 miniature paintings of all of the Empress’ favorite places.

The Imperial Winter Egg. Photo courtesy of
The Imperial Winter Egg, prepared for the Dowager Empress Maria in 1913 is a lovely and seemingly simple design, using a rock crystal base formed to look like ice on which a detachable egg sits. This egg is made of carved translucent rock crystal and platinum and is appropriately “frosted” with rose-cut diamonds and a moonstone. Within the egg, a basket of flowers representing the return of spring is made of quartz and gold and is bejeweled in rose-cut diamonds, demantoid garnets and nephrite.

The Imperial Mosaic Egg. Photo courtesy of

The Imperial Mosaic Egg, created for Easter 1914 as a gift to Empress Alexandra is very much a feast for the eyes for the gem enthusiast. Presently part of the private collection of Her Majesty Queen Elisabeth II, this egg is made of both gold and platinum. The inner and outer faces of the shell are completely incrusted with countless gems including diamonds, rubies, emeralds, topaz, sapphires and demantoid garnets. What is especially remarkable about this egg is that each gemstone was cut in accordance to the curvatures of the egg shell, creating an "invisible setting" so to speak.

The Fabergé Pearl Egg. Photo courtesy of
I’d like to finish off this post with the latest addition to the Fabergé Imperial Egg family which truly represents the spirit of rebirth. Fittingly, this egg made in collaboration with the Al-Fardan family will be the first of this caliber to be created since the last Romanov egg was delivered nearly a century ago. With an exterior made of mother of pearl and lavishly decorated with over 100 natural pearls and over 3000 diamonds (set in yellow and white gold), this egg aptly illustrates the intricacy that the Fabergé house is renowned for. Inside the egg, a 12.17 carat grey pearl from the Arabian Gulf is revealed, truly showcasing the “jewels of the sea” which have only recently experienced a revival.

Do you have a decorated egg? If so, send us a pic, we'd love to see it!


  1. wonderful article, very informative and love the pics!

    1. Thanks for the feedback! We're glad you enjoyed it!!