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Fabulous Faberge Eggs continue to delight
By Bethany Waldrop Keiper
"A box without hinges, key, or lid, yet golden treasure inside is hid?
In 1883, When the Czar of Russia requested a special springtime gift for his wife, it's unlikely that anyone involved knew what an impact that gift, and those that followed, would have on the artistic future.
The Czar was Alexander, the Czarina was Empress Marie, and the goldsmith whose name would live on for centuries was Peter Carl Faberge.
The first Faberge egg was a "nesting" egg -- the intentionally plain outside shell of platinum and enameled white opened to reveal shining treasures within. The egg did come before the chicken in this case, two eggs, in fact -- inside of the platinum egg was a smaller gold egg, which when opened, displayed a golden chicken and a tiny jeweled copy of the imperial crown.
The special egg so enchanted Empress Marie that Alexander charged the Faberge firm to create more of the beautiful eggs for delivery every Easter. Years later, Alexander's son Nicholas II continued the custom for both his wife and his mother, bringing the total number of Faberge eggs to 57.
From the special attention to detail to the flair for opulence to the popularity of the egg shape, the influence of Faberge's designs can still be seen today. Faberge's close friend and associate, H.C. Bainbridge, described him as a "genius on the rampage" and as the first in Russia to make "objects of elegance, taste, and feeling."
One popular jewelry line inspired by the Faberge designs comes from celebrity clothing critic Joan Rivers. The collection was originally available through the shopping network QVC.
Wedding cake beads, with their golden bands, centered glass medallions, and tiny frit dots, pay homage to the Faberge Cuckoo Egg, among others, which is partly described as, "encircled by pearls set in red polished gold, enameled with translucent emerald green trefoils, and the rose diamond numerals are set on pale greenish white opalescent enamel within opaque white enamel rings."
As spring gets into full swing, take some time to find Faberge's splendid creations -- whether they feature his work with enameling on gold and silver, his stone-cutting prowess, or his skill in creating tiny mechanical devices. His works can be found in many books or online articles.
Mieks Faberge Eggs http://www.mieks.com/faberge-en/index.htm
Photo by Flickr user Diaper, derivative work by Franco aq from Wikimedia Commons http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Tsarevich_%28Faberg%C3%A9_egg%29-crop.jpg
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