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Faberge Imperial Easter Eggs

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Faberge Eggs
Treasures of the World

© Public Broadcasting Service (PBS)

Mementos of a Doomed DynastyNicholas and Romanov RussiaNicholas and AlexandraThe tragic events that followed the coronation of Nicholas IIBloody SundaySigns of revolutionThe inventive young FabergeFaberge's growing fameThe Faberge Imperial Easter eggs featured in the SeriesThe House of FabergeThe workshops and workmastersFaberge the manOutrageous opulenceFragile remembrancesThe fate of the eggs

Faberge the man


Peter Carl Faferge

There are very few photographs of Peter Carl Faberge, perhaps only four or five as an old man. He was never comfortable in the limelight. Given to few words, he was straightforward and gentle, and a man of simple tastes. Henry C. Bainbridge, director of Faberge's London shop, remembers his former employer in the bigraphy entitled Peter Carl Faberge:

"The whole man was sharpened and there was no waste about his actions or his speech. When he worked he worked; when he ate, he ate; when he talked, if one word would do instead of two, he used it; and if a gesture were better still, he limited himself to that. He rarely if ever wore black, but favored well-cut tweeds with the coat of tails, the whole finished off with just a show of clean linen. There was an air of the country gentlemen about him."

Faberge was known for his wonderful sense of humor. During the height of his fame, it became a popular aristocratic pastime to pester the busy jeweler with questions about the Imperial eggs. One Lenten season, a Grand Duchess found Faberge in his showroom and demanded to know what surprise he would be unveiling that Easter. Faberge coolly responded, "This year, your Highness, we will be featuring square eggs." But his refined irony was lost on the lady; she returned the next week to view his new design. Faberge solemnly informed her that even though he had applied all his ability to the challenge, the task had eluded him.

Faberge in Switzerland

Bainbridge continues: "When it came time for Nicholas II's coronation, Faberge realized he had no coach from which to view it. He unearthed a four-wheeler, which turned out to be past its prime, and during the course of the journey, the bottom fell out. But Faberge continued on foot, still inside the cab! He was never over-serious."

"Yet he radiated his artistic inspiration among the hundreds of craftsmen and staff working with him. In no other way could thousands of objects have been made with the same feeling and finish running through each one of them. His employees wanted for nothing. The very thing which the Soviet was devised to inaugurate was already flourishing on a small scale: a system under which every man was given full opportunity to express himself, and took it, for his own benefit and that of those working with him."