The Incredible History of the Fabergé eggs

When most people think of Fabergé eggs, they think of the incredible craftsmanship and artistry that went into making these luxurious eggs. What few people know is the amazing story behind how these eggs were first created.

Peter Carl Fabergé
Peter Carl Fabergé

Peter Carl Fabergé, the man who made Fabergé eggs a household name, was born in 1846 to a family of jewelers in St. Petersburg, Russia. His father, Gustav Fabergé, was the head jeweler for the tsar of Russia, and his uncle, Agathon Fabergé, was also a renowned jeweler. When Carl was just eighteen years old, he began working for his father in the family business.

In 1882, Carl Fabergé was commissioned by Tsar Alexander III to create an Easter egg as a gift for his wife, the tsarina. The tsar gave Fabergé very specific instructions: the egg had to be made of gold, it had to be able to open and close, and it had to have a surprise inside. With these parameters in mind, Carl set to work.

The first thing he did was create a model of the egg out of wax. Once he was satisfied with the design, he had it cast in gold. To make the egg open and close, he devised a clever mechanism that used a small lever on the side of the egg. When the lever was pushed, the egg would open to reveal a small compartment inside.

The final touch was the surprise inside the egg. For this, Carl turned to his brother, Agathon, who was an expert at making miniature objects out of precious metals. Together, they created a small figurine of a gold hen that could fit inside the egg.

When the egg was finished, it was truly a work of art. The tsarina was so pleased with it that Carl Fabergé was commissioned to make another one the following year. And so began the tradition of the Fabergé egg. For the next thirty years, Carl and his workshop continued to create these beautiful and intricate eggs, each one more impressive than the last.

How many eggs were made?

Twelve Monogram (Fabergé egg)
Twelve Monogram (Fabergé egg)

It is believed that a total of 69 eggs were created by the company, with 57 of them surviving today. The majority of the eggs were manufactured during the reign of Tsars Alexander III and Nicholas II, with each egg being given as an Easter gift to their wives or mothers.

From the 52 Fabergé eggs made, 46 of which are still in existence. These luxury eggs were made for the Russian Tsars and were incredibly opulent, often featuring gold, jewels and other precious materials. Today, the surviving Fabergé eggs are highly sought-after collector’s items, with some of them fetching millions of dollars at auction.

The significance of Fabergé eggs

Fabergé eggs are significant because they are a symbol of luxury and opulence. These beautiful and intricate eggs were made for the Russian Tsars and their wives or mothers as Easter gifts. Today, the surviving Fabergé eggs are highly sought-after collector’s items, with some of them fetching millions of dollars at auction.


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Fabergé egg price

The cost of a Fabergé egg depends on many factors, such as its size, materials used, and the level of craftsmanship. However, the most important factor is its provenance or history. Eggs that can be traced back to the original owners are usually worth more than those without any documented history.

The most expensive Fabergé egg ever sold at auction is the Third Imperial Easter Egg, which went for $33 million in 2014. This egg was made in 1887 for Tsar Alexander III and was later owned by British royalty, making it one of the most famous and well-documented eggs in existence.

Third Imperial Easter Egg
Third Imperial Easter Egg

The Rothschild clock egg, which was sold by Christie’s for £8.9 million on 28 November 2007, set several records: the most expensive timepiece, Russian object, and Fabergé egg ever acquired at auction. The Rothschild egg is valued today at over $16 million and possibly up to $25 million.

Rothschild clock egg
Rothschild clock egg

Another well-known and expensive egg is The Imperial Coronation Egg. This work of art is worth $18 million. It’s made out of gold and yellow enamel, and it’s studded with brilliant diamonds in imitation of the cloth-of-gold gown she wore at her coronation.

the-coronation-egg
The Coronation egg – Uklondoncom, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

Some of the most famous eggs

The most famous Fabergé egg is the Coronation Egg, which was made for Tsar Alexander III and his wife, Empress Maria Feodorovna. This egg commemorates its coronation in 1896 and is crafted from gold, platinum, diamonds, and rubies. It is considered one of the finest examples of Fabergé workmanship and is currently on display at the Kremlin Armoury Museum in Moscow.

Other notable Fabergé eggs include the Empress Eugenie Egg (made for the wife of Napoleon III), the Rosebud Egg (presented to Tsar Nicholas II’s mother, the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna), and the Third Imperial Easter Egg (given to the Tsarina Alexandra Feodorovna by her husband, Tsar Nicholas II).

The Rosebud egg
Rosebud egg – Михаил Овчиннико CC BY-SA 4.0 Wikimedia Commons

These Fabergé eggs are not only famous for their exquisite craftsmanship, but also for the stories and history behind them. For example, the Third Imperial Easter Egg is believed to have been a gift from Tsar Nicholas II to his wife during the Easter before the start of World War I. This made the egg even more special and valuable, as it is now a reminder of a time when the world was at peace.

Fabergé eggs are truly unique works of art that are treasured by collectors and history buffs alike. If you are lucky enough to own one of these beautiful eggs, you can be sure that it is a valuable and significant piece of history.

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