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FABERGE EGGSFaberge eggs are the most famous jewelled eggs made by Peter Carl Faberge and his assistants between 1885 and 1917. In 1883 the Russian Czar, Alexander, commissioned Faberge to make a special Easter gift for his wife, the Empress Marie. The first Faberge egg was an egg within an egg. It had an outside shell of platinum and enameled white which opened to reveal a smaller gold egg. The smaller egg, in turn, opened to display a golden chicken and a jeweled replica of the Imperial crown. This special Faberge eggs so delighted the Czarina that the Czar promptly ordered the Faberge firm to design further eggs to be delivered every Easter. In later years Nicholas II, Alexander's son,continued the custom.
The Faberge eggs are made of precious metals or hard stones decorated with combinations of enamel and gem stones. The term "Faberge Egg" has become a synonym of luxury and the eggs are regarded as masterpieces of the jeweler's art.
From 1885, the eggs were produced almost every year. Fifty Imperial Fabergé Easter eggs were made and presented to Czars Alexander III and Nicholas II of Russia. A further two eggs were planned but not delivered, the Constellation and Karelian Birch eggs of 1917.
The Imperial eggs enjoyed such fame that Fabergé made some 15 known eggs for private clients. Among them is a series of 7 eggs made for the industrialist Alexander Kelch.
Lilies of the Valley Egg
Owner: The Link of Times Foundation, Russia
Height: 15,1 cm
The Lilies of the Valley Egg, an 1898 gift from Nicholas II to Empress
Alexandra Fyodorovna is another of Faberge's stunning works of originality.Designed in the Art Nouveau taste of which the Empress was so fond, the Egg, enameled in a lush rose-pink against a gold ground, is supported by multi-colored gold diamond-set leaves. From this quadruped metal base, the egg itself appears to have been dropped into a patch of lily-of-the-valley, with green enamel leaves, engraved gold stems, and pearl flowers, the petals marked by tiny rose-cut diamonds.
Every spring, Alexandra had the rooms of the palaces filled with beautiful floral bouquets. Faberge knew that pink was the favorite color of the Empress, and lilies of the valley her favorite flower. As well pearls were her favorite jewels so the combination in this Egg would have delighted her. A similar design was used in the Lilies of the Valley basket. The basket so enchanted alexandra that it sat on her desk until the October Revolution of 1917.
The 1898 Lilies of the Valley Egg is made of Gold, green-gold, translucent rose pink and green enamel, diamonds, rubies, pearls, rock crystal and watercolor on ivory.
The gold Lilies of the Valley Egg in the art nouveau style is enameled translucent rose on a guilloche field and supported on four green-gold cabriolet legs composed of overlapping leaves veined in rose-cut diamonds. The Egg is surmounted by a rose diamond and cabochon ruby Imperial Crown set with two bows and quartered by four lines of rose diamonds and decorated with lilies-of-the-valley in pearls and rose diamonds.
When a gold-mounted pearl button at the side is turned the surprise slowly rises from the base, and spreads into three portraits of Tsar Nicholas II in military uniform and his first two daughters, the Grand Duchesses Olga and Tatiana. A turn in the opposite direction automatically folds and returns the miniatures back into the interior of the Egg. The date, April 5, 1898 is engraved on the reverse of the miniatures. The miniatures are painted on ivory by Johannes Zehngraf.
Lilies of the Valley
Gatchina Palace Egg