The Mystique Of Faberge
by Tim Williams

The Faberge Exhibition at the von Derviz Mansion on the English Embankment, St. Petersburg (1902)

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The mere mention of Faberge` is synonymous with regal, aristocratic opulence, a decadence surrounded by sheer majesty of a glamorous lifestyle. So began the legacy of the artistry of Faberge`. What began in 1885 was a tradition that lasted over 30 years became one of the worlds most sought after works of art. The Imperial Faberge` Egg crafted individually by Gustav and later by his son Peter are to this day so precious most of the remaining eggs are only shown in some of the worlds finest museums. The other remaining few are with wealthy collectors of fine art.

There were only 57 Imperial Faberge` Eggs made with only 49 still known to exist. When each egg was commissioned by the Tsar of Russia at the time most of these eggs were so well crafted it took about a year to complete each one. Within each one there was a surprise inside like a hanging ruby or diamond. When an Egg was presented to each Tsar from 1885 to 1916 by either Gustav or his son Peter they were the only ones who knew what was inside each Egg. The very first was presented to Alexander III to give his wife a gift for Easter as a result the Faberge` Egg became the ideal gift for all nobility and especially the Tsar's royal family. The House of Faberge` not only made the Imperial Eggs but other exquisite jewelry and clocks. All of which are still some of the worlds finest, most sought after, most expensive and well crafted pieces of jewelry.

Events in history always changes the fortunes of lives. First there was the assassination of Alexander II in 1881. Had Alexander II lived the Duma would have established a more constitutional form of a monarchy that would have prevailed until 1917. But, already the people of Russia were becoming more intolerant of the exorbitant lifestyle of the nobility and the Tsar. Much like the French revolution. The defeat of the Russians from the Crimean War already caused more of a public outcry against the ruling classes. The coming of the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917 was inevitable and forever changed the fortunes of the House of Faberge`. With the assassination of the last of the Romanov family no longer were the Faberge` craftsmen able to continue their line of exquisite jewelry. Gustav was able to flee to Switzerland where he died in 1920. His son Peter managed to avoid capture and escaped the onslaught of new Soviet takeover ended up in Paris. In the late 1920's his sons managed to join their father in Paris and set up a renewed Faberge` line of jewelry. Only this time the house of Faberge`never did recover from the abrupt cruelty of the Bolshevik Revolution.

The ensuing years the Faberge mystique has prevailed. Though the mysterious disappearance of 8 Imperial Faberge` Eggs remains as elusive as ever. What happened to those most valuable works of art? Where are they today? Are they used as collateral for capital to fund some devious plot? Those questions have yet to be answered. What we do know, when combined those 8 Imperial Eggs are valued at over $100,000,000. That is more than enough money to ignite the passions and greed of man.

One can not help wonder at the artistry and craftsmanship of each Faberge` piece whether is is one of the eggs or other works of fine jewelry. Like Stradivarius in the making of his instruments some 100 years before. So exquisitely made there has been no real replica that can match the original. Timeless precious works of art made from a period in history that is filled with so much human tragedy. With so much tragedy intertwined with so much aristocratic opulence and grandeur of a royal family will forever evoke another family's reputation as the finest makers of exquisite jewelry which remains today unmatched by any other craftsmen.

Source & Copyright: examiner.com
by Tim Williams
19 September, 2011