As Easter is approaching, this is the perfect time to talk about the most famous Easter eggs in the world: Faberge Eggs.
Karl Faberge, born on May 30, 1846 in St Petersburg, is known worldwide for the creation of the яйца Фаберже (Faberge eggs). But his talent didn't stop at the creation of wonderful eggs, he made many more objects ranging from fine jewellery to small decorative ornaments. Nearly 100 years after his death, Karl Faberge remains one of the greatest jeweller in the world.
Karl Faberge was a descendant from a French Protestant family that fled from France following the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes. They first settled to Germany, near Berlin, then to the city of Pernau in the province of Livonia, then part of the Russian Empire where his grandfather took the Russian citizenship.
Karl's parents were renowned jewellers in St Petersburg and their talent and reputation was well known at the Russian Court. After an happy childhood in St Petersburg, Karl follows his parents to Dresden, while the business is left in the hands of a capable and a trusted administrator. There he enters the Arts and Crafts School.
In 1864, Karl Faberge embarks upon a Grand Tour of Europe. During 8 years, he will learn from the most respected goldsmiths from Germany, England, France and Italy.
On his return to St Petersburg he takes the destiny of the family business and with the help of his father's work master Hiskias Pendin he will bring the company to a higher step.
Karl's brother, Agathon, a creative and talented designer, arrived from Berlin to help him. Together they presented a replica of a 4th-century BC gold bangle from the Scythian Treasure in the Hermitage at the Pan-Russian exhibition in 1882. The Tsar was conquered by this piece of art and declared that that he couldn't make the difference between Faberge's work and the original.
In 1885, Karl Faberge was granted the title of "Goldsmith by special appointment to the Imperial Crown" by the Tsar Alexander III. In the same year, Faberge was commissioned to create an Easter egg as a gift to the Empress Maria, wife of Tsar. The egg was called "Курочка" (Hen Egg) and can be seen at the Ermitage in St. Petersburg.
The Imperial family loved it so much that another egg was ordered the next year. From then on, every year, Karl Faberge realised eggs for the Tsar, each of them with a surprise inside.
It is believed that 54 eggs have been created for the Tsar Alexander III. However, some of them have disappeared over the years or are secretly kept by anonymous owners.
From 1895 to 1916, Karl Faberge was ordered by Tsar Nicolas II 2 eggs each Easter, one for his mother and one for his wife Alexandra.
Karl Faberge was member of the Jury at the 1900 World's Fair in Paris. Though h presented his work hors concours, he was awarded a gold medal and the most prestigious of French awards: he was appointed a Knight of the Legion of Honour.
Karl Faberge is covered with glory and medals around the world. But the political and social conflicts of the 1917 Revolution will put an end to these frivolities. and Faberge treasures are spread, mainly in Occident. Billionaire Forbes will the largest collection of these "eggs-jewels).
In 1917, a "Committee of the Employees of the Company K. Faberge" took over the business, then a year later the House of Faberge was nationalised by the Bolsheviks and the stock was confiscated.
Karl Faberge left St. Petersburg and Russia on the last diplomatic train. He settled in Germany until 1920 then emigrated to Switzerland with the rest of the family. He died in Lausanne on September 20, that same year.