The greatest Easter egg hunt continues

March 11, 2015 Posted by admin

It sounds like the ultimate fairy tale: A priceless gold Faberge egg discovered by a scrap dealer at a United Kingdom yard sale. It was only 3.2-inches centimeter, not too impressive, but it was gold with a tiny gold watch inside. He figured he could sell it for scrap .and make a $500 profit. Unfortunately as scrap it wasn’t worth that much.

Frustrated at his financial loss he decided to find more about it and typed in “egg” and the name engraved on the clock, “Vacheron Constantin” into Google. Up popped a 2011 Britain Daily Telegraph newspaper article about the search for the Third Imperial Easter Egg made by Faberge for the Russian royal family estimated to be worth $33 million. An expert confirmed it was the missing egg.

Faberge Easter eggs are no ordinary gold and jeweled baubles. Designed and executed by Carl Faberge, jeweler to the Russian czars, they are known not only for the mystique surrounding them, but the surprises contained inside. Only 50 were made.

Aside from rarity, the Russian connection and use of precious gems and metals, there are more important reasons for the astronomical prices. The workmanship alone would warrant them. But, add the mechanical skill of the interior “surprises” that Faberge invented for most of his eggs, and it is easy to understand. For instance, consider the “orange tree egg.” When one of the jeweled oranges is pressed, a tiny, feathered-gold nightingale appears from the top of the tree, to sing and flap its wings.

Tho Carl Faberge was born in Russia, his heritage is French. as are his decorative influences. His grandfather fled Huguenot persecution in France and became a Russian subject. His father, Gustav Faberge began the family jewelry business as a goldsmith and jeweler in St. Petersburg, in 1842. Young Carl began his training in his father’s workshop, but was also apprenticed to a noted German goldsmith, in Frankfurt. However, it was a subsequent tour of Italy and France, and the techniques of enamelers and goldsmiths that were to influence his work. At age 24 he took over his father’s firm, in 1870. By 1882, his unique jewelry won him the gold medal at Moscow’s Pan-Russian Exhibition, and the eye of Czar Alexander III.

The 1900 Exposition Internationale Universelle in Paris, brought Faberge International recognition, as well as the Legion d’Honneur.

Working with enamels, considered one of the most difficult processes, Faberge combined it with the Guilloch’e process (a decorative band or border that resembles a line of interlocking circles). Today, it is rarely used, not only because of the cost, but the technical problems involved. Faberge still is the acknowledged master of enameling. A process where even a tiny mistake working with the enamels at high temperatures could ruin a fine piece.

His eggs often combined materials that were equally difficult to work with. Among them various precious and semi-precious stones, matte and translucent enamels and various shades of gold.

Many of the Imperial eggs were personalized. One, the “Lillies of the Valley Egg” contained portraits of Nicholas, Grand Duchess Olga and Tatiana. Another was the “Coronation Egg,” that contained its own royal coach.

The egg tradition began when he began creating decorative Easter gifts, such as pendants and various objets d’art, in the form of tiny eggs, popular in the 1880s. In 1884, Czar Alexander III asked him to create an unusual Easter gift for his wife, the Empress Maria Feodorovna.

The design of the first of the Imperial eggs was relatively simple. it contained a golden yoke, which in turn, held a tiny gold hen figurine. The czarina was so pleased that the czar commissioned Faberge to begin the tradition, as long as each egg contained a hidden surprise.

Some of the eggs were so complicated they took years to complete. In 1896, when Nicholas II came to the throne he continued the tradition, adding one for his mother, the Dowager Empress as well as his czarina, Alexandra Fedorovna.

The end of the Faberge tradition came with the outbreak of the Bolshevik revolution in 1917. His work, done for the aristocrats and the wealthy became unpopular. he fled to Switzerland and died there in 1920. Sadly, it was not until the last decade that his work once again became popular, and his genius newly appreciated … even in Russia.

Prices have come a long way since the czar paid Faberge the equivalent of $250,000 in dollars for the Winter Egg. When it was last sold at auction in 2002 the price was more than $9.5 million. The egg of rock crystal was commissioned by the nephew of Alfred Nobel. It was a jeweled silver-mounted enamel Easter Egg containing a jeweled platinum and rock crustal “surprise,” a jeweled, platinum and rock crystal pendant watch.

According to Faberge’s original account book, one of the most expensive eggs he ever produced was the “Winter Egg.” Made of finely carved, transparent rock crystal, the egg contained a “surprise” rose-diamond basket of spring flowers. The exterior of the egg was embellished with over 3,000 diamonds.

There still are six missing eggs. Who knows where they are? Maybe you’ll get lucky?

Article source: http://www.mycentraljersey.com/story/news/local/somerset-county/2015/03/11/faberge-egg-anne-gilbert-enterprises-ltd/24661659/

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