Wednesday, 30 May 2012

My Newest Favourite Thing: Fabergé Eggs

I love the little Google designs, don't you? They point out all sorts of fascinatingly irrelevant information. For example, I would never have known that today was the 166th birthday (do you still get birthdays when you're dead?) of Peter Carl Fabergé.

Those eggs used to fascinate me - they still do. I love eggs, as I believe I have mentioned previously, because the shape is just perfect. I used to collect marble, laquered and wood versions, but couldn't quite stretch to those beautifully jewelled varieties.

Tsar Alexander III commissioned the House of Fabergé to make an Easter egg for his wife the Empress Maria. The tradition continued and from 1887 Carl Fabergé was given complete freedom with regard to design, which then become more and more elaborate. The only stipulation was that each one should contain a surprise. I would guess that a plastic crocodile wouldn't cut it - take that, Kinder!

After the death of Alexander III, Nicholas II had one made each Easter for both his wife and mother. The tradition continued until the October Revolution, and 50 eggs were made, of which 42 have survived. The House of Fabergé made other eggs too, but these ones are known as the Imperial Eggs and I'm sure are worth a very pretty penny.

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