ONE of the pleasures of booting up one’s computer in the morning and logging on to Google, is to see what the doodle of the day focuses upon. And yesterday, to our absolute delight, there were set of six exquisite jewelled eggs to charm the senses and delight the eye, all in honour of Peter Carl Fabergé, the legendary Russian jeweler who would have been 166 years old.
His story is the stuff of fairy tales and it is fitting that he should be famous for making these priceless, little works of art, fit for kings and queens and princesses – or museum showcases.
Peter Carl Fabergé was born in St. Petersburg and after being trained in the jewelry designing and making business, he joined his father in 1870.
In the 1882 Pan-Russian Exhibition in Moscow, he won a gold medal and five years later, he was appointed as the court jeweler of the Romanov Dynasty. This was the period when he did the work that earned him long lasting international fame that has echoed down the years long after he died.
To actually see a Faberge egg (or a collection) one will have to go to the Kremlin Museums, or the British Museums, and for all we know, there may be some held in private collections in India, which of course no one will get to see because we don’t want the tax man asking awkward questions, but interestingly enough, a few years ago, nine Faberge eggs came to India and were on display at New Delhi’s National Museum for a month. The nine Imperial Easter Eggs were valued at $26 million and included the much-celebrated Coronation Easter Egg from 1897.
All this was thanks to efforts made by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations, and what was being celebrated was Indo-Russian friendship. The eggs themselves came from St. Petersburg, Moscow and London, and required security of a very high order indeed.
Fabergé made his first Easter egg for Czar Alexander III in 1885 which the Czar gifted to his Danish wife Empress Maria Feodorovna. This was because the Romanovs presented each other with Easter eggs, and they probably got bored with marzipan and chocolate. The first Faberge Imperial Easter egg contained a jeweled hen.