For more than 50 years mediamagnat Malcolm Forbes was collecting the artwork of Fabergé firm. In 2004 it went on sale on Sothbey’s, London. The collection was purchased in full by Russian billionaire Victor Vekselberg and therefore was saved from being split and sprayed all over the world. Since then the Fabergé collection began to be replenished to become the world’s largest. In 2013 It was decided to put it all on public display as Fabergé museum in newly restored Shuvalov’s Palace, St Petersburg, RUSSIA.
Carl Fabergé created the beautiful baubles and objets d’art for Tsars Alexander III and his son Nicholas II, and the new museum bearing the legendary jeweller’s name houses nine Imperial eggs (second only to the 10 in the Kremlin’s Armoury), plus five non-Imperial Fabergé eggs and some 4000 other pieces by Fabergé and fellow master craftsmen and women of pre-revolutionary Russia.
The Renaissance Egg: The tradition of tsars giving their wives jewelled Easter eggs began in 1885 when Alexander III commissioned the 37-year-old Fabergé to create a present for his Danish wife Maria Feodorovna. The Empress was delighted and, from then on, Fabergé was given a free hand in his designs for the eggs. The Renaissance Egg, crafted from jewel- and gold-encrusted agate, is the one Alexander gifted Maria in 1894.
The Blue Hall: After entering the Shuvalovsky Palace and climbing the grand staircase beneath an egg-shaped dome, the tour kicks off with the star attractions: 14 Fabergé eggs plus a few other ornaments in the Blue Hall, a treasure in its own right with sumptuous gilding and moldings, and original roundel paintings.
The Coronation Egg: From 1897, Fabergé was tasked with designing two Imperial eggs each Easter – one for Maria Feodorovna, who after the death of her husband became the Dowager Empress, and one for Alexandra Feodorovna, wife of the new tsar Nicholas II. The ‘surprise’ of the Coronation Egg, made to celebrate Nicholas’s coronation in Moscow in 1896, is a detailed replica of the 18th-century carriage that carried Alexandra to the coronation.
The Bay Tree Egg: Symbolising everlasting love, the Bay Tree Egg was presented in 1911 to the Dowager Empress Maria in celebration of the 35th anniversary of her arrival in Russia from Denmark. It has 325 nephrite leaves and is studded with rose diamonds, amethysts and citrines, a type of quartz. The surprise is a mechanical golden bird, decorated in real hummingbird (colibri) feathers, that rises out of the top of the tree, flaps its wings and sings.