Fabergé eggs are jewelled eggs created by the jewellery firm House of Fabergé, in Saint Petersburg, Russia. As many as 69 were created, of which 57 survive today. Virtually all were manufactured under the supervision of Peter Carl Fabergé between 1885 and 1917. The best-known—as well as the most lavish and intricate—were the 50 Imperial eggs created for the Romanov family and given as Easter gifts. Fabergé eggs are worth millions of dollars and have become symbols of opulence.
The best-known Fabergé eggs were the 50 Imperial eggs created for the Romanov family and given as Easter gifts
In 1885, Tsar Alexander III of Russia commissioned Peter Carl Fabergé to create a jeweled egg as an Easter gift for his wife, Empress Maria Feodorovna. It was meant to be a one-time order, but the result was so pleasing that the tsar immediately placed an order for the following year. Thus began an annual tradition that his son would adopt when he took the throne and that would continue until the end of the House of Romanovs’ three-century reign, at the outbreak of the Russian Revolution in 1917.
Since 1885, Fabergé eggs became an annual tradition that would continue until the end of the House of Romanovs’ three-century reign, at the outbreak of the Russian Revolution in 1917
The creation of an egg took about one year, a process that had a preliminary period including detailed planning, sketches, and models. Unlike the first egg, the others were created in secret. The only stipulation was that each contained a surprise. The eggs became progressively more elaborate and creative, and they established Fabergé’s reputation as a “fabricator of jeweled fantasies.” However, while he was involved in the design and oversaw their creation, he did not actually make the eggs. Once Fabergé had approved an initial design, the work was carried out by a team of craftsmen, among them Michael Perkhin, Henrik Wigström, and Erik August Kollin. The eggs generally measured 3 to 6 inches (8 to 15 cm) tall, though many included elaborate bases.