Since 1885, the House of Fabergé has made at least 65 of its famous jewelled eggs. Most of the eggs were made for the Imperial family in Russia.
The very first egg was created for Tsar Alexander III in 1885. He presented the egg to his wife, the Empress Maria Fedorovna. The Empress liked the egg so much that her husband went on to commission a new egg for her each Easter.
Each egg was to have a unique design and had to contain a “surprise”, which was usually some sort of jewel. Alexander commissioned ten more eggs before his death and a further 40 were created during the rule of his son, Nicholas II.
The eggs for the Russian Imperial family were created under the supervision of Peter Carl Fabergé, who ran the House of Fabergé until 1916. Only 43 have been confirmed to still exist. In 1917, the last of the Imperial eggs, known as the Constellation, was left unfinished due to the Russian Revolution.
Here are some of the most beautiful and well-known of the surviving Fabergé eggs.
First Hen Egg, 1885
The very first Fabergé egg opens into two halves, revealing a gold inner “yolk” that contains a surprise of its own; a small golden hen with ruby eyes. It’s currently part of the collection at the Fabergé Museum in Saint Petersburg, Russia.
Danish Palaces Egg, 1890
The Danish Palaces Egg is made of pink enamelled gold and is divided into 12 sections by rose-cut diamonds and emeralds. The stand is more modern and was added later.
The egg is owned by the Matilda Geddings Gray Foundation and is on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
Memory of Azov Egg, 1891
Carved from a solid piece of heliotrope jasper (bloodstone), the Memory of Azov Egg commemorates the voyage made by the Pamiat Azova to the Far East in 1890.
The egg’s surprise is a miniature replica of the ship, made from gold and platinum and with diamond windows.
It’s currently being held by the Kremlin Armoury Museum in Moscow.
Renaissance Egg, 1894
This was the last egg that Alexander II presented to his wife before his death in 1894. It was made from cloudy agate with a white enamel gold trellis and diamonds decorating the surface.
The egg’s surprise was lost but some have speculated that it was pearls. The egg is currently owned by one of the Russian oligarchs, Viktor Vekselberg.
Imperial Coronation Egg, 1897
This gold egg was made to commemorate the coronation of Empress Alexandra Fyodorovna. The surprise is a highly detailed replica of the Imperial coach that carried Tsarina Alexandra to her coronation.
It’s currently owned by Viktor Vekselberg.
Pelican Egg, 1898
The Pelican Egg is one of the few un-enamelled Fabergé eggs. Made from engraved red gold, the egg is topped by a pelican feeding her young, a symbol of maternal care.
The egg’s four-legged stand is also gold. It contains miniature oval paintings of various charitable institutions supported by the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna.
It currently belongs to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.
Bouquet of Flower Clock Egg, 1899
This egg-shaped clock is one of the bigger Fabergé eggs. The body is divided into twelve parts, which are separated by diamonds.
The hours are marked by Roman numerals around the middle of the egg and the top rotates to indicate the time. The surprise, which is missing, was a ruby pendant.
It’s currently held by the Kremlin Armoury Museum.
Gatchina Palace Egg, 1901
Made from gold, enamel, silver-gilt and diamonds, the Gatchina Palace Egg features a miniature gold replica of Gatchina Palace, the Dowager Empress’ residence.
Unlike many of the other surprises, the miniature palace is fixed; it can’t be removed from the egg.
The egg is on permanent display at the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore.
Peter the Great Egg, 1903
The Peter the Great Egg was created to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the founding of St. Petersburg, in 1703. It was made from red, green and yellow gold with platinum, diamonds and rubies.
It’s inset with miniature watercolour paintings of the city. Inside, the surprise is a gold model of Peter the Great, the founder of St Petersburg.
The egg is currently located at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.
Tsaverich Egg, 1912
The Tsarevish Egg, also known as the Czarevich Egg, was created as a tribute to Empress Alexandra Fyodorovna’s son, Tsarevich Alexis. The outer shell is made from blue lapis lazuli, adorned with gold motifs.
The surprise is a diamond-encrusted double-headed eagle framing a portrait of Alexis. The egg resides at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond.
The Pearl Egg, 2015
In 2015, the House of Faberge unveiled the first Imperial style egg made for nearly a century. Named the Pearl Egg, it’s set with 139 pearls and 3305 diamonds.
The egg was valued at $2 million and was commissioned by a private collector of pearls.
Storing collectables with Xtraspace
Collecting items can be a source of much enjoyment – even if the items aren’t quite as rare and expensive as the Fabergé eggs! From shells to sewing items to stamps, games, toys, models, ornaments and art supplies, collections are as varied as the people who gather them.
Unfortunately, collections often grow to the point where they clutter up the house and get in the way.