Between 1885 and 1916, Carl Faberge made fifty jewelled eggs. These were given as Easter presents from Russia’s last two tsars to their wives. Mementoes of the opulent lifestyle of the ill-fated Romanov dynasty, the eggs have fascinated collectors since the revolution. In all, fifty eggs were fashioned in the workshop of Carl Faberge and 46 are known to have survived.
The Faberges were a family of jobbing jewellers in St Petersburg of French Huguenot descent. When Carl Faberge fashioned the first jewelled egg for the Tsarina of Tsar Alexander III as an Easter surprise, it was the beginning of a family tradition. To many, the eggs are the epitome of kitsch, priced far beyond their intrinsic worth, but they continue to fascinate as reminders of the tragedy of the Romanovs.
Toby Faber gives a fascinating account of the two families, Faberge and Romanov, and how their histories are both inextricably intertwined.