The Secret of Russia’s Lost Treasure: The Imperial Fabergé Eggs

The celebrated series of 50 Imperial Easter eggs was created for the Russian Imperial family from 1885 to 1916 when the company was run by Peter Carl Fabergé. These creations are inextricably linked to the glory and tragic fate of the last Romanov family. They were the ultimate achievement of the renowned Russian jewellery house and must also be considered the last great commissions of objets d’art . Ten eggs were produced from 1885 to 1893, during the reign of Emperor Alexander III; 40 more were created during the rule of his dutiful son, Nicholas II, two each year, one for his mother, the dowager, the second for his wife. (Fabergé / Reproduction)
The celebrated series of 50 Imperial Easter eggs was created for the Russian Imperial family from 1885 to 1916 when the company was run by Peter Carl Fabergé. These creations are inextricably linked to the glory and tragic fate of the last Romanov family. They were the ultimate achievement of the renowned Russian jewellery house and must also be considered the last great commissions of objets d’art . Ten eggs were produced from 1885 to 1893, during the reign of Emperor Alexander III; 40 more were created during the rule of his dutiful son, Nicholas II, two each year, one for his mother, the dowager, the second for his wife. (Fabergé / Reproduction)

Traditional Russian culture is one of beauty, refinement and elegance. The sheer opulence of gold-trimmed palace interiors, intricate designs with attention down to the most intricate detail, and the bounty of colors are a sight to behold.

Historically, Easter was a highly celebrated holiday, as Russian’s were primarily Orthodox, families would gather and exchange decorated eggs. The Easter of 1885 marked the Czar Alexander II wedding anniversary to his wife, Czarina Maria. The Czar commissioned the jeweler Peter Carl Fabergé for an elaborate egg for his wife. It’s here, that Fabergé, who was of French and Dutch descent, made his first Fabergé egg. The original was made of a white enamel, and the inside of gold complete with a golden hen with ruby eyes, and a small ruby egg. After the death of his father, Nicholas ascended to the throne and continued the Fabergé’s Imperial Easter Egg tradition, having them commissioned for his mother and new wife.

History took an unfavorable turn, however, and the royal family, including the Czar’s wife and children, were executed by the Bolsheviks, which was the majority of the Russian Social Democratic Party, later named the Communist Party. The Bolshevicks then went on to loot the palace, confiscating some of the precious eggs, while the rest were stored in the Kremlin’s vaults. In 1927, Stalin plundered the vaults to fund his own regime, and much to Russian curator’s despair, he sold the eggs for a minuscule amount.

Between the communist-based Russian Revolution and Stalin’s plunderage, seven of the nine are unrecoverable; there were reportedly 52 eggs made. The Necessaire Egg was last seen in a London shop in 1949, where it sold and hasn’t been seen since. The British Royal Family, however, has an impressive Fabergé collection. One fellow even stumbled across one prior to melting it down for scrap. Luckily, he identified the treasure and sold it for $33 million.

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