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Fabergé Eggs - True Historical Jewels

You may have heard of Fabergé eggs in passing, but these ornaments are not a variety you can get in a store – they are some of the most expensive pieces of jewels you can come across. The majority of these eggs are the handiwork of Peter Carl Fabergé, who made them especially for the Russian Tzars between 1885 and 1917. Altogether some 69 eggs were created, each its own delicate work of precious metals, gems, and enamel coating. This series of photos will show you some of the most famous and artistic Fabergé eggs, as well as the interesting history behind them.

Fabergé Eggs
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Fabergé Eggs
The First Chicken

“The Chicken” was the first egg Fabergé created, as a gift for the his wife. The egg is made of gold and coated in enamel, which resembles eggshell. Inside the egg hides another surprise – a gold chicken with ruby set eyes. The chicken also opens to reveal a miniature copy of the imperial crown, made of gold and diamonds, as well as a ruby pendant. While it may seem like a simple piece of jewelry, it still serves as evidence of Fabergé’s creativity and attention to details.

Fabergé Eggs
Memory of Azov

“Memory of Azov” was presented as a gift to Alexander the 3rd, the Tzar of Russia, in 1891 and is evidence of Fabergé’s evolution as a jeweler. The egg is made of a solid piece of heliotrope jasper (also known as a “bloodstone”) and is decorated with gold filigree, embedded with diamonds. As in most Fabergé eggs, “Memory of Azov” hides a little surprise inside – a miniature model of an old battleship, the Pamiat Azov. To safeguard the model ship, the egg interiors were lined with green velvet.

Fabergé Eggs
Diamond Trellis

Fabergé Eggs
Renaissance

Fabergé Eggs
Rosebud

Fabergé Eggs
Imperial Coronation Egg

The Coronation Egg was personally handed to Tsaritsa, Empress Alexandra Fyodorovna. It is part of a collection of jewels made under the supervision of Peter Fabergé. Empress Alexandra was married to Nicholas II, the last Tzar of the Russian Empire, making this egg, which was given to her on her coronation day, an invaluable piece of history. Inside the egg hides a 3.5” (less than 10cm) model of the carriage that the empress rode in on her coronation day. Another gift handed to the empress was an emerald necklace that was unfortunately lost to the ages.

Fabergé Eggs
Lilies-of-the-Valley

Fabergé Eggs
Bouquet of Lilies Clock

A few years after presenting the Coronation Egg to the last rulers of the empire, Fabergé presented the Bouquet of Lilies Clock to the Tzar’s wife as an Easter gift from the Tzar. The egg was presented in 1899 and since that day has never left Russian soil. It is one of the few eggs that the Russians managed to preserve from being sold or stolen. The egg itself is a functioning clock, made of gold and adorned with diamonds, sporting Roman numerals. The top of the egg is a bouquet of lilies, meant to represent innocence and love.

Fabergé Eggs
Trans-Siberian Railway
Fabergé Eggs
Gatchina Palace

Fabergé Eggs
Peter the Great

Dedicated to one of Modern Russia’s spiritual ancestors, this egg celebrates Peter’s achievements in expanding the empire’s dominion. In 1703, Peter the Great established the city of St. Petersburg, and the egg was made to celebrate the bicentennial anniversary of the city, presented as a gift to the Emperor and his wife. The egg is made of gold, painted in red, green, and yellow, adorned with rubies, quartz and portraits painted on ivory. The portraits depict the city in its early days, as it looked in 1903, as well as a portrait of St. Peter himself and the then recently deceased Nicholas II.

Fabergé Eggs
Moscow Kremlin

Fabergé Eggs
Rose Trellis

Fabergé Eggs
Napoleonic

The Napoleonic Egg was one of the last to be produced under Fabergé’s supervision, in 1912, five years before retiring. This egg was a gift to Nicholas II’s mother, Maria Fyodorovna, Princess of Denmark and Empress of Russia. The egg’s design is based on the centennial celebrations of the battle of Borodino – where Napoleon tried to invade Russia. The shell is decorated with diamonds and emeralds, along with the royal crests of Denmark, and imagery of Fyodorovna herself. Inside the egg, you can find a six-panel miniature screen painted in watercolor, showing the six regiments, of which Maria Fyodorovna was an honorary colonel.

When one sees these spectacular eggs, having learned some of the fascinating history behind them, it’s hard not to admire the masterful work. It's no wonder these ornaments are considered to be some of the world’s most exquisite jewels. Most of the Fabergé eggs can be seen in museums in Russia and around the world, and have lead to a whole new art field, made in honor of Peter Fabergé. If you’re ever lucky enough to view one in person, remember that you’re not just looking at an expensive jewel, but also an invaluable piece of history.

Image sources: wikipedia.org
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