Giving gifts for an anniversary, birthday, Easter or Christmas is a deeply rooted custom in societies around the world. Generally, these gifts can range from the simplest to priceless presents. A good example of the latter was the custom of Russian royalty. They gave expensive gifts for certain dates, such as luxurious jewelry, unique in the world. This is the case of the famous and very expensive Fabergé Eggs.
The story of the Fabergé Eggs
This combination of jewelry and art, has a history that begins at Easter 1885. Tsar Alexander III wanted to present his wife, Maria Fyodorovna Romanova, with an extraordinary object.
In the Russian Orthodox tradition, at every Easter they had the custom of giving decorated eggs as a gift. However, the Tsar was thinking of something really surprising, so he commissioned the Russian jeweler Peter Karl Fabergé to make a “special” decorated egg. This was the first of 50 that the jeweler would build in his lifetime for the Russian royal family.
Like the traditional chocolate eggs we give as Easter gifts, the egg for the Tsarina had a surprise inside. This first Fabergé egg was named the “Hen’s Egg.” On the outside it looked like a traditional egg, white in color and with a smooth surface.
Inside it had more than one surprise, as it was lined with a gold layer that looked like a yolk, and inside the yolk, one could find the figure of a miniature hen. In turn, the hen had inside a reproduction of the Russian crown, which was also in miniature.
Between 1885 and 1917, they made 50 Fabergé Eggs for the Romanov family. They were imperial eggs, although the tradition quickly spread throughout the palace. It was the Russian royalty’s way of showing their opulence at each Easter celebration.
With the death of Tsar Alexander III, the custom was continued by his successor, Nicholas II, who prolonged the tradition. He not only presented eggs to his mother Maria Fyodorovna, but also to his wife, Alexandra.
Fabergé Eggs are exquisite exclusive jewelry.
They are incomparable works of art of incalculable value. Some contained rubies or diamonds and others had inside detailed reproductions of places such as the residence of Alexander III, the Uspensky Cathedral or the Kremlin.
Today, the Fabergé Eggs are of inestimable value, although of the 50, seven are lost. The rest are scattered around the world. Some belong to museums and others to private collectors. The explanation for the fact that they are not in Russia can be found in the Bolshevik revolution.
During the seizure of power by the revolutionaries, the court was forced to leave the palace, leaving behind all their belongings. With the assassination of the entire imperial family in 1918, all their belongings were nationalized. At that time, Joseph Stalin, in order to attract international trade, sold 14 of the Fabergé Eggs.
In the world of jewelry, a Fabergé Egg is of inestimable value, so much so that, whoever finds one, will become an instant millionaire. These famous eggs are one of the most emblematic collections in Europe and the world.