Beyond Words

Words, Wit and Wisdom for Today's Style and Decision Makers

The Most Eggs-ceptional Easter Eggs of all Eggs March 30, 2023

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 9:22 pm

Earlier this week while playing golf, my friends and I were searching for mis-hit balls…one yellow, one red, and one white one. As we were doing so, one of them commented that we were on a ball hunt that closely resembled an Easter egg hunt. Quickly the worry of having to take a drop was overshadowed by laughter and memories of many an egg hunt.


Brittany Fuson

Tis the season, right? Colored eggs, jelly beans, and even those confetti-filled cascarons fill our homes and store shelves. As I penned in a previous blog, eggs symbolize Easter and come in all styles and patterns. Most are of the plastic or real variety, but there is a variety that is in a class all its own: Fabergé Eggs. I’ve always ooohed and awwwed over them and decided this was the perfect time of year to do some digging on them. I’m eggs-cited to share what I learned with you!



Stan Honda Getty Images

It’s been nearly 140 years since the first Faberge egg was created 1885 when Tsar Alexander III of Russia’s Romanov imperial family commissioned Peter Carl Faberge to create a jeweled egg as an Easter gift for his wife, Empress Maria Feodorovna with the above pictured Hen Egg. Okay, I already learned something as I had no idea Fabergé Eggs actually started as true Easter eggs.


The stunning golf-banded, enamel-sheathed Hen Egg featured a surprise inside: a gold yolk that opened to reveal a golden hen sitting on gold straw. Yep, that’s a lot of gold and trust me, it was real gold. The hen also held a surprise: a miniature diamond replica of the imperial crown and a ruby pendant. Meant as a one-time gift, the egg proved so popular and lovely to look at that an annual tradition was started and the rest is egg history. Once owned by Malcolm Forbes, the Hen Egg is now housed in the Fabergé Museum in Saint-Petersburg.



A total of 50 eggs were created for the Russian royals; 43 of which are still around today. Each year Fabergé oversaw a production team of metalsmiths, jewelers, designers, and other artisans to create the annual egg; details of which were kept secret until presented to the tsar.


Taken by the Bolsheviks during the Russian revolution, pieces ended up in various places but eventually became highly sought after works of art. According to a “Town & Country” magazine feature on the eggs, they have taken on a new life in the international art market, appearing and disappearing in private and public collections. Perhaps most famous of Fabergé egg hunters was none other than Malcolm Forbes whose collection at one point included nine eggs that today would sell for millions of dollars.


Sadly I don’t have one and likely never will (there are some pretty dupes out there though if you are just looking for a look) but, let’s look at some of the more famous Fabergé eggs and a few of my favorites.



Tim Graham Getty Images

Stunning does not describe this work of art and one of the Fabergé collection’s most celebrated eggs. This Mosaic Egg was designed by Alma Theresia Pihl, one of only two women who designed at the House of Faberge at the beginning of the 20th century. The egg was commissioned by Tsar Nicholas II as a gift for Empress Alexandra and features an inlay pattern based on an embroidery pattern. Today it is owned by the British royal family.



Ullstein Bild Getty Images

Speaking of royals, how amazing is this, the Coronation Egg from 1897? Presented to Empress Alexander by Tsar Nicholas II as a memento of their 1896 coronation, it is sheathed in multicolored gold embellished enamel. The work of art contains a removable miniature replica of a coach built for Catherine the Great that was used to transport subsequent Romanov rulers. A large portrait-cut diamond is set in the top of the egg and is surrounded by 10 other diamonds through which the monogram of the empress can be seen. At the opposite end is a smaller diamond set among rose diamonds and surrounded by gold petals. Purchased at one point by Forbes, the Coronation Egg is housed in the Fabergé Museum in Saint-Petersburg.



Royal Collection Trust

Who doesn’t love a basket of flowers and who doesn’t love this stunner from 1901?  Empress Alexandra is said to have displayed this Basket of Flowers egg in her winter Palace study. She quite possibly gazed at the nine-inch work of art featuring a bouquet of wildflowers, leaves, and husks cast in gold and decorated in colorful enamel longing for spring as a long, cold winter ensued.  The silver gilt-and-oyster enamel basket mounted with a rose-diamond trellis and oval handle all on a blue enamel base is truly magnificent.



Sergei Ilnitsky Shutterstock

On the opposite end of the season spectrum came the Winter Egg in 1913. Given to his mother by Tsar Nicholas in 1913, it stands alone in the Fabergé world with its unique rock crystal carved thin as glass. Embellished with platinum diamonds that resemble frost, the egg rests on a rock crystal base designed to look like a block of melting ice. Amidst this winter theme is a platinum basket full of anemones and flowers made of gold and garnet…all studded with 1,378 diamonds that in 2002 sold at auction for $9.6 million to a private collector. Happy Easter to them!



Forbes Collection

Flowers delicately made from pearls and rose-cut diamonds adorn this 1898 masterpiece called the Lilies of the Valley Egg that also consists of leaves of green enamel on gold. A single pearl on the side rises to reveal three miniature portraits of Czar Nicholas II and his daughters Olga and Tatiana. It was a gift from the Czar to wife Empress Alexandra and is on view at the Fabergé Museum.



Stan Honda Getty Images

I’m particularly fond of this topiary-like creation given to his mom by Tsar Nicholas in 1911. It is made from enamel and jeweled nephrite and its leaves contain a tiny lever disguised as fruit that activates a hinged top revealing a feathered songbird that actually flaps its wings, opens its beak, and sings! I love topiaries and I love this egg.



David Lefranc Getty Images

Last but certainly not least is the last egg given to Empress Maria by Alexander III. Its trademark Fabergé inside surprise was lost but many speculate it was a bed of pearls while others believe it was the Resurrection Egg that fit perfectly inside the bigger Renaissance Egg. It has held the interest of many owners and collectors including Swingline Staplers founders Belle and Jack Linsky, who in 1949 tried unsuccessfully to donate them both to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. They later sold the Renaissance Egg to a Manhattan antique dealer who sold it to Forbes. It was later one of 10 imperial eggs purchased from Forbes in 2004 for an estimated $100 million.



In short, he was a merchant from Parnu who opened a small jewelry workshop in St. Petersburg. In 1846 his son Carl was born and later took over the family firm after his dad sent him across Europe to learn more about their craft. In 1885 he was appointed supplier to the Imperial Court and by the 19th Century the House of Fabergé was recognized the world over and Carl was named supplier to many European monarchs.



At its peak, the House of Fabergé has several branches, including one in London. Its flagship store was also home to Carl’s fashionable home and included a studio for designers and a specialized library. The company hired only the best jewelers and employed more than 500 people at one point. Up until its closure in 1918, it had produced more than 300,000 objects and considered not only monarchs as clients, but prominent politicians, business leaders, and artists as well.


As luck would have it, the First World War was hard on Carl and the firm and his home country. Many employees were drafted and after the October Revolution, the House of Fabergé closed its doors for good. As we’ve all learned in history books, the new government executed the Romanovs, who were Fabergé chief clients, and the making of Easter eggs like no others was no more. Carl eventually fled the country using false documents; died in Lausanne, Switzerland; and was buried in Cannes.



Who knew the extraordinary story and history of these extraordinarily historic eggs? I certainly didn’t but now that I’m in the know, I still think they’re beautiful but am also kinda happy with just my plastic, ceramic, porcelain, and real ones. After all, it’s not about the eggs but what they represent. Here’s hoping you have an eggs-tra special Easter!


One Response to “The Most Eggs-ceptional Easter Eggs of all Eggs”

  1. Judith Dearing Says:

    Thank you Carla


    div>Beautiful eggs aren’t they

    Sent from my iPhone


    div dir=”ltr”>


    blockquote type=”cite”>

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s