The Mysteries of a Golden Egg
“It’s what we call an ‘object of fantasy’ because it has absolutely no function whatsoever except to be a source of pleasure – and it is,” said jewellery expert Geoffrey Munn after discovering a lost work of art by Carl Fabergé.
Recently, I have become fascinated with the elaborate works by the famed jeweller who used to design intricate, decorative Easter Eggs for the Russian Imperial Family in the late 19th century.
Fabergé made a point of learning something about each of his most important clients. This egg (pictured above) was a gift for Czarina Alexandra Fyodorovna from her husband Nicholas II, and so Fabergé designed the egg with both her favourite colour and favourite flowers in mind.
The Lilies of the Valley Egg is a manifestation of everything I adore in a coveted object. The pink egg is nestled atop curling green-gold leaves adorned with rose-cut diamond dew drops, each balancing a single pearl at its base. The gold-stemmed lilies – set with rubies, pearls and diamonds – curve gently around the delicate surface of the eggshell. This was one of only two eggs created in the Art Nouveau style (the other was the Pansy Egg).
A tiny replica of the Imperial Crown sits atop the egg and is key to my very favourite part – a hidden surprise. When gently depressed, the crown moves upwards with the help of a geared mechanism to reveal three tiny miniature portraits of the Royal Family, painted by Johannes Zehngraf. After viewing, the crown can be gently pushed back down to reverse the mechanism and conceal the secret portraits back inside. What a treasure!
Photo credit: Ninara