Happy Birthday Mr. Faberge!

30 May

In honor of Carl Faberge’s 166th birthday (after a little reminder from Google) – I thought I would share my favorite piece from his workshop. 

I was at Christie’s when this piece sold in 2002.  The Antiquities department sat between the Russian and Silver departments, so I usually got to see alot of cool things come through. 

Nothing was more fun than the Winter Egg.  It’s stunning.  I’d never seen such workmanship before!  And yes, I got to hold it.  Imagine that – holding a piece that was once held by the last Russian tsar.  What history!  And that history can be traced for almost 100 years, from the Faberge workshop in 1913 to its current location in Qatar.

Enjoy!

 

A HIGHLY IMPORTANT FABERGÉ IMPERIAL EASTER EGG WITH ORIGINAL SURPRISE GIVEN BY TSAR NICHOLAS II TO HIS MOTHER, THE DOWAGER EMPRESS MARIA FEODOROVNA AT EASTER 1913
workmaster Albert Holmström, St. Petersburg, designed by Alma Theresia Pihl, the surprise engraved FABERGÉ 1913

On a rock-crystal base formed as a block of melting ice, applied with platinum-mounted rose-diamond rivulets, the hinged rock-crystal detachable egg held vertically above by a pin and with rose-diamond set platinum borders, graduated around the hinge and enclosing in the top a cabochon moonstone painted on the reverse with the date 1913, the thinly carved transparent body of the egg finely engraved on the interior to simulate ice crystals, the outside further engraved and applied in carved channels with similar rose-diamond set platinum motifs, opening vertically to reveal the surprise – a platinum double-handled trelliswork basket, set with rose-diamonds and full of wood anemones, suspended from a platinum hook, each flower realistically carved from a single piece of white quartz with gold wire stem and stamens, the centre set with a demantoid garnet, some carved half open or in a bud, the leaves delicately carved in nephrite, emerging from a bed of gold moss, the base of the basket engraved FABERGÉ 1913
overall height of the egg 5 5/8in. (14.2cm.); height of the egg 4in. (10.2cm); height of the surprise 3¼in. (8.2cm.)

Provenance

Tsar Nicholas II
Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna, Easter 1913
Wartski, bought in the Soviet Union in the late 1920’s
Acquired by Lord Allington in 1934
Sir Bernard Eckstein
Sotheby’s London, 8 February 1949, lot 128
The Late Bryan Ledbrook
Anonymous
Christie’s Geneva, 16 November 1994, lot 464, sold for $5,587,308 (SFR 7,263,500) world record price for a Fabergé item sold at auction
American private collector
Christie’s New York, 19 April 2002, lot 150, sold for $9,579,500
Qatari private collection

 

 

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