Coronation Egg (03:08)
On Easter 1897, Czar Nicholas II gave his wife a jewel-encrusted egg made by imperial jeweler Carl Fabergé to celebrate their coronation.
Fabergé's Beginnings (03:25)
Fabergé moved with his family to Dresden in 1860. The city was home to Dresden Castle’s Green Vault, which housed the art collection of Augustus the Strong. Fabergé crisscrossed Europe learning what he could from the continent’s great jewelry collections.
Hermitage Museum Opportunity (02:34)
Fabergé’s father’s workshop was located near the Winter Palace. Fabergé frequented the museum and volunteered to catalog and restore a newly discovered horde of gold artifacts.
Royal Client (04:32)
A Fabergé replica of an ancient gold bracelet caught the eye of Alexander III at the All-Russia Exhibition in Moscow. The czar purchased the original Fabergé egg to give as a gift to his wife, Maria Feodorovna.
Imperial Court Supplier (04:09)
Alexander III commissioned an egg for his wife every year. A key element of Fabergé’s success was the structure of his company. He took advantage of the economic boom of the 1880s and 1890s.
Pivotal Crisis (02:18)
In the winter of 1891, harvests failed, resulting in 2.5 million deaths. Fedorovna received the Renaissance Egg on Easter 1894; Nicholas II was engaged. Alexander III suffered from a kidney ailment and died at age 49.
Commemoration Egg (04:41)
Nicholas II attended a ball at the French embassy in Moscow on the same day 1,400 of his subjects were trampled to death. Fabergé commemorated the disastrous coronation with an egg. The jeweler began making pieces for the British royal family.
Lily of the Valley Egg (01:58)
Fabergé was the favorite jeweler of Dowager Empress Maria, but it was hard for him to get to know the new empress. He made a special gift to impress her and put things right after his faux pas of 1897.
Exposition Universelle (02:18)
The French were obsessed with all things Russian in 1900. Nicolas II lent three of his Easter eggs to the Fabergé exhibit, which was critically acclaimed.
Flourishing Jewelry Business (03:08)
Fabergé had shops in Moscow, Kiev, Odessa, and London; he engaged in the use of mail order. Fabergé immortalized Henry VII’s dog with a special carving and gave Nicolas II the Basket of Flowers Egg in 1901.
Russian Civil Unrest (02:51)
Fabergé did not present eggs for Easter in 1904 and 1905. The Russian Navy suffered great losses in a war with Japan and discontent mounted. During a strike in Saint Petersburg, soldiers fired on factory workers; insurrection broke out across the empire.
Familial Themed Eggs (02:40)
The Romanovs’ increasingly isolated life centered on family, as reflected by Fabergé’s eggs once regular orders resumed. Prince Michael of Kent discusses the Colonnade egg and the Mosaic egg.
Tercentenary Egg (01:25)
Nicholas II and his wife toured the country as the Romanov dynasty celebrated 300 years of rule in 1913. Fabergé commemorated the event with an egg rife with symbolism—a two-headed eagle supporting 18 miniature portraits of the Romanov czars.
Final Romanov Egg (01:54)
Russia suffered catastrophic losses in the First World War. Nicholas II went to the front to take personal charge of his army. The czarina received the Steel Military egg for Easter in 1916.
Bolshevik Revolution (01:51)
Nicholas II abdicated as czar on March 2, 1917. He sought asylum from King George V but was denied. The royal family was taken into exile and murdered. Fabergé was accused of war profiteering, and his business was seized.
Fabergé's Legacy (06:14)
Fabergé and most of his family escaped to Switzerland; he died in Lausanne in 1920. Josef Stalin started selling the imperial eggs in 1927 and they began appearing in the West; Malcolm Forbes collected nine eggs.
Credits: Genius of Carl Faberge (00:35)
Credits: Genius of Carl Faberge
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