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Monday, 26 November 2012
Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna's Faberge Cross Pendant
Topic: Faberge


A diamond and topaz platinum mounted Faberge cross pendent purchased by the Tsar Nicholas II and the Empress Alexander Feodorovna in St Petersburg in 1912 bought for the Tsar's sister Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna is seen during a press preview at Christie's auction house in London. It was expected to fetch some 50-70,000 pounds (US$ 79-111,000 , euro 61-86,000) when sold at auction on Nov. 26.

© Christie's (London). 26 November, 2012

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:08 AM EST
Updated: Tuesday, 27 November 2012 6:14 AM EST
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Thursday, 4 October 2012
The World of Faberge - Shanghai Museum
Topic: Faberge


Memory of Azov Egg presented by Emperor Alexander III to Empress Maria Feodorovna in 1891. Photo Credit: Moscow Kremlin Museum 

One of the most precious Kremlin collections of a great historical and cultural value is the one incorporating pieces of jewellery produced by the famous Faberge firm, the distinguished Russian firms of P. Ovchinnikov, I. Khlebnikov, O. Kurlyukov, G. Klingert, M. Semyonov.

For the first time such a collection of artworks of C. Faberge and other renowned craftsmen from the Moscow Kremlin Museums funds is exposed in the country, which is distinguished by the tradition of jewellery making and art of processing of stones and metal.

Over a hundred high-quality articles are intended to present one of the most flourishing and outstanding periods in the history of the Russian goldsmithery in the epoch, which is called the “Silver Age” of the Russian culture and arts. At the turn of the XIXth century Russian craftsmen invented a new original consummate style, which incorporated a retrospective trend and national traditions along with fashionable utilitarian design, so popular in the modern society. The Faberge’s triumph and “genius”, mentioned by Russian Empress Maria Fyodorovna, has contributed to the development of the Russian jewellery industry and marked a new page in the history of the Russian and foreign industrial art.

The exhibition gives a unique opportunity to observe not only the items from the Armoury collection but also the rarities from the Moscow Kremlin Museums' funds, including religious items and memorabilia, pieces of jewellery and tableware, articles of coloured stones, as well as the Faberge masterpieces – precious Easter eggs, executed for the last two Russian Empresses.

The exhibits reveal the techniques perfected by the distinguished craftsmen of Moscow, Saint-Petersburg and Kiev, such as multicoloured enamel on filigree, highly skilled chasing, genre casting and stone cutting. Composed of the items, produced by various firms and workshops, the exposition explores the main features and mechanism of development of the art of jewellery making at the turn of the century.

The exhibition runs from September 28, 2012 to January 3, 2013 at the Shanghai Museum in Shanghai, China.

© Moscow Kremlin Museum. 04 October, 2012

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 5:43 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 4 October 2012 5:46 AM EDT
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Thursday, 13 September 2012
Faberge: The Rise and Fall
Topic: Faberge


Imperial Peter the Great Easter Egg (1903). Photo © Virginia Museum of Fine Arts 

The Detroit Institute of Arts will host Fabergé: The Rise and Fall featuring more than 200 precious objects from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, home of the largest collection of Fabergé in the United States. The show traces Karl Fabergé’s rise to fame, highlighting his business savvy, artistic innovations, and privileged relationship with the Russian aristocracy. Despite the firm’s abrupt end in 1918, the legacy and name of Fabergé continues to hold a place in popular culture.

Visitors will have the rare opportunity to glimpse imperial Russian treasures made by the House of Fabergé, including jewel-encrusted parasol and cane handles, an array of enameled frames, animals carved from semi-precious stones, and miniature egg pendants. The exhibition features six exquisite imperial Easter eggs. These one-of-a-kind objects, which took at least a year to create, have become synonymous with the name Fabergé. One stunning example is the Imperial Tsesarevich Egg, made of lapis lazuli, diamonds, and gold and opens to reveal a miniature portrait of young Alexei, the heir of Tsar Nicholas II. The objects on view will be exhibited with text, images, and activities meant to help visitors imagine the ways in which such luxury items would have been manufactured in a workshop, displayed in a storefront, and used to adorn the interior of the imperial palace.

© Detroit Institute of Arts. 13 September, 2012

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 12:52 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 16 September 2012 6:51 AM EDT
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Tuesday, 14 August 2012
Faberge Siberian Aquamarine and Diamond Brooch
Topic: Faberge


Photo Credit: Anthony DeMarco  

Wartski of London are in possession of a number of Faberge objects, each of which has a special story. Unique among them is a Siberian aquamarine and diamond brooch which was a gift from Tsar Nicholas II to his wife, Alexandra Feodorovna. According to Wartski she was wearing the jewel right up until the time of her murder on July 17, 1918.

Here’s how Geoffrey Munn of Wartski tells the story (though somewhat melodramatic) behind the brooch:

"In here we have a Fabergé brooch, a Siberian aquamarine surrounded by diamonds. That’s all we knew for a while. It’s an exemplary aquamarine and it’s of extraordinary color. (women in the group gasp with amazement). I know, I know it’s fabulous. (But) it’s only the beginning of the trouble. Because this really is going to wreck you and you’ll need a stiff drink afterwards. It’s an exemplary aquamarine and it’s a Siberian one and they don’t really come in that color unless they do come from Siberia.… The story of this is really quite awe inspiring because the color blue in the lore of lapidary stones stands for love and then there’s sort of the interlock of two lives with diamonds forever. And that’s all we knew for a very long time until my colleague sent off the number to Russia and back came the provenance and it said that it was bought by the Supreme Autocrat of all the Russias—a pretty hot title—and there’s a note beside it saying it was the engagement present from (Russian Tsar) Nicholas II to Princess Alix of Hesse (Alexandra Feodorovna). And that is sort of stratospheric. But then what happens later is even more heartbreaking because when they were taken to prison in Siberia (during the Bolshevik Revolution), they went to a place called The House of Special Purpose—a very menacing title—and you know what happens next but this (the jewel) was with her just before she was taken to the basement and riddled with gunfire. It was confiscated and it isn’t actually open to debate because it was a civil service theft and so they made an inventory of what they’ve taken from her and they photographed it on the table so you don’t hear any fanciful stories. I think possibly that’s as far as jewelry will ever take you".

Source: Forbes Magazine

© Royal Russia. 14 August, 2012

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:59 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 15 August 2012 3:55 PM EDT
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Thursday, 21 June 2012
Faberge Box Fetches Almost $90k
Topic: Faberge


A jewellery box found by an Auckland man in his mother's estate sold for almost $90,000 to a London buyer at auction yesterday - more than $70,000 higher than the reserve.
The Faberge box was originally purchased by a Bohemian prince for £35 in London in 1910.

The piece was discovered by Webb's Auction House amongst items from the woman's estate, many of which had little or no value.

The upper estimate of $20,000 was quickly forgotten as bidding went up in $2,000 lots.

The item attracted interest from "spirited and determined" bidders, a spokesman from Webb's said.

A London bidder eventually won the auction with a bid of $87, 750, after competing in the end with a New York buyer.

Peter Carl Faberge was the foremost jeweller of the Russian empire, and is most famous for his jewelled eggs.

His items are often sought after because of the craftsmanship and history attached to them.

*Note: prices quoted in this article are in New Zealand dollars.

© Auckland Now. 21 June, 2012

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:24 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 21 June 2012 6:29 AM EDT
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Wednesday, 13 June 2012
Faberge Box to be Auctioned in New Zealand
Topic: Faberge


A highlight of Webb's 20 June Fine Jewellery sale will be the exquisite Imperial Period Faberge box which was brought into Webb's last month by a Vendor who was unaware of the item's significance. The item, among others, was consigned to Webb's weekly affordable sale - where low value collectible items are sold at little or no reserve.

The discovery, by Webb's Head of Antiques, James Hogan and Jewellery specialist Chris Devereux caused much excitement, not least for the Vendor!

As Chris Devereaux states; "such pieces appear in the market only very rarely, and are highly sought after, it is anticipated to gain the interest of collectors and connoisseurs both nationally and internationally and I estimate it will sell for between $10,000 - $20,000, if not more"

The exquisite late Imperial Faberge Box is made from panels of lapis lazuli framed in yellow gold, the lid is engraved crystal bordered by seed pearls and the thumb-piece set with diamonds. In Cyrillic script, an alphabetic writing system developed in the First Bulgarian Empire during the 10th century AD, it bears the marks for Faberge, the mark for workmaster Henrik Wigstrom, and a mark for St. Petersburg 1908-1917, 56 zolotniks (14ct) together with a further scratched inventory number 20203.

The fabulous jewels and objects of virtue created by the workshops of Peter Carl Faberge are some of the most desired and collectable items in the world. The reason is two-fold: firstly they demonstrate a level of craftsmanship that is unrivalled, and secondly the history of Faberge is intimately and forever linked with the romance surrounding the splendour of the Russian Imperial court.

© 13 June, 2012

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 12:01 AM EDT
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Monday, 9 April 2012
Faberge Eggs Synonymous With Excess, Perfectionism
Topic: Faberge

The Lilies of the Valley egg (1898)

Like modern Canadians, Russian royalty in the 19th century loved Easter eggs. Unlike us, they didn’t settle for dollar-store chocolate. They celebrated the holiday with eggs made of pure gold and platinum and set with precious jewels.

Synonymous with the excess and perfectionism of a bygone era, the House of Fabergé’s egg creations are rightly famous — and about as blinged-out as Easter has ever been.

Fabergé eggs weren’t edible, but that was their only drawback.

Russian jeweller Peter Carl Fabergé created the first Imperial egg in 1885, which Czar Alexander III commissioned as a gift for his wife: a white enamelled egg with a yellow gold “yolk” inside. The yolk itself hinged open and contained a multicoloured hen, also made of gold — which could, of course, also be opened, revealing a near-microscopic diamond crown. Needless to say, it was a hit, spawning decades of Imperial eggs painstakingly crafted by the country’s finest jewellers.

“Each egg was more impressive than the last,” says Corey Keeble, a curator at the Royal Ontario Museum.

Among the most sumptuous Fabergé work was the Moscow Kremlin egg of 1906, with its stunningly detailed miniature of the palace, he says. Another opened to reveal a tiny replica of the royal coach, with wheels that turned, doors that opened and windows made of crystal.

Besides the Imperial eggs made for the Czar, Fabergé also made eggs for wealthy nonroyal clients. And when World War I broke out, Fabergé updated his designs to match the times, crafting a military-themed egg for the Czar. But 1917 would be the end of the line, thanks to the Russian Revolution, when the eggs’ Czarist patrons swiftly lost the throne and, eventually, their lives at the hands of the Bolsheviks.

Comrade Vladimir Lenin admittedly had other things on his mind than commissioning an official egg to commemorate the Red Army’s takeover. Too bad. Imagine it: a simple, blood-red number, set with a gold-leaf hammer and sickle, which opened to reveal a miniature bust of Karl Marx. Now that would surely have been Fabergé’s crowning achievement.

One of the largest collections of Fabergé eggs used to belong to the late U.S. magazine publisher Malcolm Forbes. After his death, however, it was snapped up by Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg and repatriated back to Russia in 2004 — a feat for which Vekselberg reportedly received then-President Vladimir Putin’s personal gratitude.

“The history of the eggs has come full circle,” says Keeble.

© Toronto Star. 09 April, 2012

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 8:54 AM EDT
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Friday, 30 March 2012
Rare Faberge Cigarette Case Expected to Sell for 15,000 GBP at Auction
Topic: Faberge


A RARE Faberge cigarette case is expected to fetch more than £15,000 at a Coventry auction next week. The 18-carat gold case was made by the world famous Russian jewellery firm some time between 1880 and 1917.


It comes in an original cedarwood box and is being sold by Warwick Auctions, in Queen Victoria Road, on Wednesday. Auctioneer Chris Burns, who has been in the trade for 30 years, said: “It’s very, very, rare.


“These come up for auction only at Sotheby’s and Christie’s in London – no Faberge has gone through here since the 1940s.


“The estimate is £10,000 to £15,000, but it could fetch a lot more. I’ve never seen one like it.”


The case is part of a large collection of Russian gold and silver being sold by a mystery seller from Coventry and Warwickshire.


© Coventry Telegraph. 30 March, 2012

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 1:57 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, 30 March 2012 1:59 PM EDT
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Sunday, 18 March 2012
Faberge Egg Shines at Queen's Jubilee Exhibition
Topic: Faberge


This is one of the series of fifty Imperial Easter Eggs made by Fabergé for the Russian imperial family between 1885 and 1917.  It demonstrates the extraordinary craftsmanship of Fabergé’s team of designers, jewellers, goldsmiths and enamellers.  The design of the flower motif is inspired by petit-point embroidery, while each of the tiny precious stones is precisely cut and calibrated to fit the platinum mesh of which the egg is constructed. The medallion on a jewelled stand (the ‘surprise’) painted with the portraits of the five children of Tsar Nicholas II and Tsarina Alexandra fits inside the egg and was revealed when the egg was opened on Easter day.

Technically one of the most sophisticated and extraordinary of Fabergé’s Imperial Easter Eggs, the Mosaic Egg retains its ‘surprise’. It takes the form of a medallion painted on ivory with the portraits of the five children of Tsar Nicholas II and Tsarina Alexandra on one side and a basket of flowers and their names on the other, on a stand surmounted by the Russian imperial crown, held within the egg by gold clips.

The egg was theTsar’s Easter gift to his wife in 1914, but the original invoice was destroyed and the cost is therefore unknown. The Tsarina’s monogram and the date 1914 are set beneath a moonstone at the apex of the egg. It comprises a platinum mesh into which tiny diamonds, rubies, topaz, sapphires, demantoid garnets, pearls and emeralds are fitted – perfectly cut, polished and calibrated to fill the spaces.This extraordinary technical feat is all the more impressive because the platinum is not welded but cut.The five oval panels around the centre of the egg feature a stylised floral motif, replicating the technique of petit-point.

In the list of confiscated treasures transferred from the Anichkov Palace to the Sovnarkom in 1922, the egg is described thus: ‘1 gold egg as though embroidered on canvas’. The designer, AlmaTheresia Pihl, was inspired to produce the needlework motif when watching her mother-in-law working at her embroidery by the fire. Alma Pihl came from a distinguished family of Finnish jewellers employed by Fabergé. Her uncle, Albert Holmström, took over his father August’s workshop and was the workmaster responsible for the production of this bejewelled egg. The egg was confiscated in 1917 and sold by the Antikvariat in 1933 for 5,000 roubles. It was purchased by King George V from Cameo Corner, London, on 22 May 1933for £250 ‘half-cost’, probably for Queen Mary’s birthday on 26 May.

The Mosaic Egg is one of numerous Faberge treasures currently on display at the Treasures from the Queen's Palaces exhibit in the Queen's Gallery, Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh, Scotland. The exhibition runs until 4th November, 2012.

© The Royal Collection. 18 March, 2012 

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:10 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 20 March 2012 6:20 AM EDT
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Tuesday, 14 February 2012
New Coin Celebrates Faberge Artistry of Henrik Wigstrom
Topic: Faberge

The Mint of Finland has unveiled their latest collector coin which features the artistry of Henrik Wigström (1862 – 1923) who went on to become one of the most noted craftsman in the Fabergé jewelry company in St. Petersburg.

Wigström, who was primarily known for his “Egg” creations, these unique bejeweled items became a firm favorite of the Russian Imperial family. They were exchanged by senior members of the court of St. Petersburg as gifts for special occasions and  many of these exquisite golden and intricately enameled eggs are signed on the inside shell by Wigström himself. He went on to become the Head Goldsmith of Fabergé and held that position for 15 years until the Russian Revolution forced the closure of this famous workshop.

The obverse side of the coin bears an image of one of the most famous creations of Wigström, that of the Coronation Easter Egg, still unfinished, which was eventually given to the Czarina Alexandra by Nicholas II in 1897. The reverse side depicts a swan, in homage to another example of Wigström's exquisite workmanship, the "Swan" Easter egg. The surprise within the egg is a swan made of platinum, gold and precious stones, swimming on a lake of aquamarine. The denomination and year of issue "2012" is  also included on the reverse.

Designed by sculptor Pertti Mäkinen, the coin has a denomination of 10 €URO and is struck in proof quality in sterling silver with a weight of 17 grams and a diameter of 33 mm.

© Mint of Finland. 14 February, 2012

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 7:12 AM EST
Updated: Tuesday, 14 February 2012 7:20 AM EST
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