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The Aristocracy &

Their Fabergé Eggs 

Randy H. Sooknanan

Art & History Writer

The name Fabergé has evoked wealth and opulence for over a century. The world's most extravagant Easter eggs are small, intricately decorated objets d'art, which Russia's royal House of Romanov commissioned from the jeweler and goldsmith Peter Carl Fabergé. To this day the Imperial Egg collection remains as some of the most exquisite of works ever created.

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The Aristocracy & Their Faberge Eggs 

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The indubitably beautiful miniature jeweled eggs were created and designed by the House of Fabergé, led by Peter Carl Fabergé, an infamous craftsman during the final era of imperial Russia. Fabergé personally supervised the manufacturing of every single one between 1885 and 1917, and originally created them especially for the Russian imperial family. The Fabergé company continues to operate as a jeweler today, but the finite number of original Imperial Eggs means that the most famous part of the entire collection was born from Peter Carl's specific designs for the last line of Romanov aristocrats. His work in this collection is world-renowned for its unique artistry, lavishness, value, and association with The Aristocracy and Their Fabergé Eggs. The objects are symbolic of representing a now-defunct royal dynasty that ruled for over three centuries and embody a different fairytale-like age entirely while signifying prestige, affluence, and yet tragedy all intrinsically.

​The very first imperial Fabergé egg dates back to 1885, when the Russian Tsar Alexander III, seeing his wife's sadness from being away from her childhood home, commissioned a gift for her. His wife was Empress Maria Feodorovna, and on Easter (this holiday is among the most important celebrations of the Russian-Orthodox ecclesiastical calendar) Maria was delighted with an exquisite jeweled egg, and so it became a tradition that 2 eggs would be made each year as gifts for the wives and mothers of the aristocracy. They soon became the treasures of Imperial Russia and associated with the power of the Romanov family themselves. ​Thus, in the years that followed, Fabergé exclusively produced a total of 52 Easter gifts and 46 of which survive to this day. 

It was during the aristocracy's rule, that every year Fabergé would reinvent his task by using unexpected materials, new devices, clocks, or automatons shaped like animals. Each egg required the work of various artisans of differing expertise and Fabergé’s eggs were widely regarded as artistically innovative. ​Each one was unique and made from different materials, from gold to crystal, but always set with precious stones and gems, such as emeralds, pearls, and diamonds. The sizes ranged from three inches to over five inches tall, and could often, but not always, be opened to reveal a surprise.

The collection was dispersed after the fall of the Romanov family during the Russian Revolution and so only ten remain in the Kremlin, eight are still missing and the rest are now scattered around the world. Interestingly, this has created an international Easter egg hunt of sorts for Fabergé egg lovers who have been known to travel the globe to seek out as many eggs as possible.
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The interest for Imperial Eggs has not faltered due to a combination of reasons which include, the incredible quality of the work, the sentimental value they held for the Romanov's, the family's dramatic downfall from grace, the mystery of the still-missing eggs, and the high monetary sums they are estimated to be worth today. ​As such, all of these factors add to the allure and the extravagance of The Aristocracy and Their Fabergé Eggs. Over 100 years later they are still the centerpieces of frequent exhibitions at major museums around the world, ever-present across popular culture and symbols of a more romanticized time.