Faberge Museum is a treasury for art and jewelry lovers, a gemstone in the museum crown of our city. All in all, the museum possesses over 4000 jewelry items and paintings, the biggest attraction being the Blue Parlour, where 13 Faberge eggs are on display.
In terms of quality this Easter masterpieces collection is unrivaled as it includes the very first and last works, alongside with significant eggs marking events, important for the Tsar’s family: coronation, 15th anniversary of reign, etc. Besides, a viewer can compare two marvelous eggs created for one Easter. Absolutely different, they show signature style of Carl Faberge: he carefully studied the tastes of the people for whom the presents were intended: dowager empress and the tsar’s spouse.
The museum’s extensive and varied collection includes:
- About 4000 museum pieces, 80% of them are on display;
- The gems on display are 13 Faberge Eggs, 9 are unique Imperial Easter eggs.
- Over 200 Faberge jewelry items;
Contact us to order a tour to the world renowned Faberge Museum, St. Petersburg
Link of Times and Faberge Jewelry Collection
The Russian Faberge Museum is relatively young: it accepted first visitors in November 2013. But we can say it all started with Mr. Vekselberg, a Russian squillionaire, purchasing the Russian collection assembled by Malcolm Forbes, the US media tycoon. Jewelry items, applied art pieces, porcelain, Russian and French paintings mostly dated from the end of the 19th – beginning of the 20th centuries. At the deal price of 100 mln US dollars, Mr. Vekselberg got infected with “Faberge-virus”.
Also in 2004 Mr. Vekselberg established a cultural historic foundation, named “Link of Times”. The main purpose of this organization became retrieving Russian culture and art objects that were lost or sold abroad. It’s amazing but none of Faberge Museum’s exhibits was purchased in Russia.
The location of the Museum is also interesting from the historic and architectural point of view: the Naryshkin-Shuvalov Palace is one of the best-preserved former mansions of the nobility. The Link of Times has taken the palace in the long-term rent (for 49 years) under the condition of historic restoration. The restoration lasted 7 years and required around 30 mln US dollars more.
Nowadays the Faberge Museum ranks among the most comfortable ones to visit. The friendly personnel skillfully manages crowds of visitors, so the waiting line for the tickets is never longer than 5 minutes. Regular hourly tours in Russian are mixed with public tours in English. For those, who would like to explore on their own, audio-guides in all European languages are offered. Private VIP tours to the Faberge Museum can be arranged for groups from1 up to 15 visitors.
Carl Faberge: Jewelry Family Business
Faberge is a French name. The Huguenot family left France in the 18th century and moved first to Germany and then to the wides of the Russian Empire. In 1842 Carl’s father settled in the capital of the Empire and opened a small jewelry workshop in St. Petersburg. Carl Faberge was born and raised in Russia, and despite his French origin, always considered himself a Russian artist.<p/p>
When Gustav Faberge died, his sons succeeded to the family business. A combination of Carl’s business grip and Agathon’s artistic talent proved extremely successful.
By 1884 Carl Faberge had a reputation of a talented jeweler and a copyist. He worked at the Imperial Hermitage Museum as a restorer and jewelry appraiser. By that time He had created a number of jewelry items that were replicas of ancient Eastern gold. This collection was a commission of the Russian Geographical society and was exhibited at a trade fair together with the originals. The tsar himself, attending the exhibition, couldn’t tell replicas from the masters. This determined Carl’s further career: the monarch commissioned a very special present for his spouse for the next Easter. Faberge Jewelry House scored a success with the very first Imperial task. The long-awaited position of the Supplier of His Imperial Majesty Court brought new commissions, new noble customers and new workshops and stores set up across the Russian Empire and in Great Britain.
Faberge Imperial Eggs
1885 marked a turning point in Carl Faberge’s life. He got the tsar’s assignment for a jewelry Easter egg for Empress Maria. The indispensable condition was to repeat a precious egg from the Danish Crown Treasury, as Empress Maria came from Denmark. So, for Easter 1885 she received an egg coated with opalescent enamel to imitate real egg shell. A fine line in the centre showed where to open the shell. Inside one could see the egg was gold.
A surprise sat inside – an egg yolk of matt gold. Again, a fine connection line helped the curious empress to open the yolk. Inside it yet another surprise expected her – a hen made of white, yellow and orange gold. The hen stared with its ruby eyes, as if saying: “I’ve got something for you”. The neck pressed, and the hen shares its secret – a miniature copy of the Russian Imperial diamond crown and a ruby egg pendant on a gold chain. No doubt, the empress was deeply moved.
Since that time annual Faberge eggs for Easter became traditional.
Alexander III presented his spouse 10 precious Easter Eggs. The first one and the last one (“Renaissance Egg”) belong to Link of Times and are displayed in St. Petersburg museum. Within the period of 1885-1916 50 amazing Easter masterpieces were finished. You can order 1-day or 2-day Faberge tour.
After the father’s death, Nicholas II continued the tradition: starting from 1895 Carl Faberge had to create two Easter presents each year: for the Emperor’s wife and mother.
Of course, the revolutionary 1917 changed traditions and habits of the whole country and the fate of many people. Carl Faberge’s workshops and warehouses were devastated, jewelry items expropriated and sold abroad at literally rock-bottom prices, the famous jeweler himself had to emigrate. He never restored his business again. Majority of his noble clients were either dead or lived in emigration from head to mouth. He died in France, poor and forsaken of God and man.
Faberge Jewelry House executed 50 Easter eggs by the tsar’s order. Their fates were different, their whereabouts are not always known. 7 masterpieces are considered lost. Only 19 Faberge Imperial Eggs are in Russia now: they belong to two top collections of Faberge items under one roof: 10 are on view in the Moscow Kremlin and 9 are exhibited in St. Petersburg.