Peter Carl Faberge (1846-1920), born in Russia is known for the creative and meticulous workmanship of the Imperial Easter Eggs
. He was educated in England, Germany, Italy and France. In 1879, at the age of 24, Peter Carl Faberge inherited his father’s jewelry business. He gained international fame when his detailed decorative designs caught the eye of the wealthy royal families of Europe. In 1882, he was honored with the title of Imperial Court Goldsmith.
In 1885, Peter Carl Faberge was commissioned by the Czar Alexander III to make an Easter egg for the Empress commemorating their anniversary. His only requirements were that the egg be unique and made with a surprise inside the for his wife. The first Imperial Easter Egg was delivered and presented to the Empress by Faberge on Easter morning. It appeared to be a simple white enameled egg. Upon opening, it contained a golden yolk with a multi-colored hen inside. Enclosed in the hen was a miniature diamond crown with a ruby pendant. His wife so loved the gift that one was made for her annually and was given to her on Easter morning.
Although the House of Faberge
, as it came to be known, made other elaborate Faberge eggs for the Duchess of Marlborough, the Nobels, the Rothschilds and the Yusupovs Peter Carl Faberge’s first priority was always to the Czar.
In 1894, the Czar became ill and died an early death. His son Nicolas II became the next Czar. Because of his uncertainty on how to rule the country, he decided to do everything his father had done. One of those rituals was to present his wife, Empress Alexandra Fedorovna and his mother the Dowager Empress Maria Fedorovna with a Faberge egg every Easter. Each egg became more elaborate and elegant than the next. This continued until the execution of the entire family on July 17, 1918 after much political upheaval.
Fifty Imperial Easter eggs were made but only 42 survived the trials of history.