Elaborate, bold and intricate, Fabergé is Russia’s most iconic jewellers. Best known for its opulent Imperial Eggs, made for Russian Tsars, it’s been creating stunning jewel-encrusted pieces of art since 1842. The Fabergé Museum at Shuvalov Palace is home to a priceless collection of jewellery, decorative items and historical artefacts, from Alexandra Feodorovna’s sparkling Coronation Egg to a rare traditional Russian kovsh, and much more. With so much to discover, the museum’s curators, Alexey Pomigalov and Karina Pronitcheva, have come together to present an exclusive look at some of their favourite pieces.
Imperial Easter Coronation Egg: “A gift from Emperor Nicholas II – the last Russian Emperor – to his wife Empress Alexandra Feodorovna for Easter 1897, this egg commemorates details of her coronation. Her gold brocade coronation mantle was Carl Fabergé’s inspiration for the finish of the yellow eggshell, and the surprise inside the egg is a miniature copy of the coronation carriage.”
Lion’s Head Bracelet: “Returning to St Petersburg after several years of studying jewellery making in Western Europe, Fabergé went to work in his father’s firm, and later became the restorer of jewellery in the Treasure Gallery of the Imperial Hermitage. Inspired by the works of the old jewellers, Carl Fabergé created a series of Scythian gold replicas. This lion’s head bracelet belonged to the collection and was made by master Erik Collin and presented at the All-Russia Industrial and Art Exhibition in 1882.”
Writing Set: “Having entered the UK market, Fabergé quickly attracted influential customers such as the Royal family and English aristocrats. Among them was the wealthy family of Baron Leopold de Rothschild, who often ordered objects with a combination of yellow-gold and dark blue stripes, to represent the Rothschild jockey colours at royal horse races.”
Enamel Box by Feodor Rückert: “Enamel painter Feodor Rückert created his own unique style inspired by national romanticism. He often featured famous Russian paintings on his jewellery objects; for instance, the cover of this jewellery box is adorned with an enamel miniature based on the 1883 painting, A Boyar Wedding Feast by Konstantin Makovsky.”
Presentational Kovsh: “In 1909, American business magnate and horse breeder Cornelius K G Billings arrived in Russia, where his famous horse Lou Dillon took part in the run of the Imperial Moscow Society for the Promotion of Horse Trotting. As a reward for a spectacular and graceful race, Billings received a substantial presentational Kovsh (a traditional drinking vessel in the oval shape of a boat), made-to-order by jeweller Feodor Rückert.”