They said Peter Carl Faberge died of a broken heart. He went to Switzerland after more then 30 years of being in demand as an imperial jeweler for the Russian Tsar. He was respected, rich and well known, had people working for him, lavish lifestyle and good relationship with Tsar Nikolai II. It all ended abruptly after the October Revolution of 1917 changed the course of the country and Faberge’s skills and ideas were no longer needed.
During the unsettling time in Russia, 7 out of 50 Faberge eggs were lost and the rest were spread all over the world and could be admired in the museums or private collections. Only 10 eggs are in Russia, 9 eggs are owned by a private collector Viktor Vekselberg and the rest have found their homes in Monaco, Germany, USA, UK and Qatar.
They were truly Easter Eggs of exceptional beauty. The tradition started in 1885 when Carl Peter Faberge was commissioned to create a surprise Easter gift for Tsarina. The design was simple on the outside, but inside a little golden hen with ruby eyes was hiding, who also contained a very very small golden crown. The crown was lost later and I think the numerous kids in the Tsar’s family were to blame. I can totally see them whining “Daddy-y-y, you never play with us!” and the Tsar, giving them the egg: “Now kids, your daddy is ruling the country at the moment. Here, play with this.” Maybe not, who knows now but the kids in my class liked the story.
So, the tradition started and every year a House of Faberge presented to the royal eyes a new version of an egg. The imagination did not know limits: there were minuscule trains, tiny imperial coaches, miniature palaces and state of art flowers, all hidden inside the perfect shells.
I made my first Faberge egg out of modeling clay when I was about 9. It did not look good… I am glad that with a help of proper materials our eggs were such a success:
The project took us about an hour, including an egg and a stand (a carton ring decorated with glitter). We painted on Smooth Foam Eggs with all surface metallic and glitter paints that you can buy in A.C. Moore store.
To accompany our creative endeavor I’ve chosen Sergei Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf that was actually written by a composer to develop musical tastes in children. 🙂
It was a very nice class, productive and fun. I am sure your kid will enjoy it too. If you do not want to paint an egg you are welcome to paint on smooth foam balls. The amount of joy is the same, we tried.
A tip for the (relatively) mess free painting – if you have wooden barbecue sticks, put an egg on it. Then, make a hole in a paper plate and stick it in so your kid holds it like a flower.
If you wish to get more information on Faberge Egg History, please, read this article on Wikipedia. Otherwise, have fun!