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Rare Faberge egg’s exhibition

Easter eggs originally made for the Russian royal family are part of a large exhibition of objects designed by Karl Faberge to be displayed shortly at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.

The exhibition titled,  Faberge Revealed, will include many elaborately jeweled majestic Easter eggs as well as other objects and pieces from the Virginia Museum collection together with other pieces and sculptures borrowed from other private collections. According to Geza von Habsburg, a noted Faberge expert, this will be the biggest public exhibition of Faberge works in the United States of America.

Included in the exhibition is the well known and highly acclaimed sculpture, Imperial Lilies of the Field Basket, which is representative of all facets of Faberge’s artistic ability and combined into a single work.

The work, a favourite of Czarina Alexandra Feodorovna, was presented to her in the year 1896 on the coronation of her husband and Russia’s last emperor, Nicholas II. She had the work displayed on her desk up until the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution. In the following year the couple and their children were executed.

The exhibition will include 6 of the eggs Nicholas gave to his wife and mother as Easter offerings, as well as the 1903 Imperial Peter the Great Easter Egg, the 1912 green and gold Imperial Napoleonic Egg and the 1912 Imperial Tsesarevich Easter Egg.

The Peter the Great Egg was commissioned for the bicentennial of St. Petersburg. The egg is made up of diamonds, rubies, sapphires, gold, platinum and enamel displaying minute watercolours on ivory. Within the egg is a miniscule facsimile of Falconet’s statue the Bronze Horseman, depicting the 17th century emperor. On opening the egg the statue rises up.

Habsburg has estimated that an Imperial Egg can command prices of between $20 million and $30 million on auction. Viktor Vekselberg, a Russian tycoon purchased nine Imperial eggs in 2004 from the Forbes collection. The purchase price is estimated to have been in the region of $22 million.

In 1882 Faberge sold a piece to Empress Feodorovna  and thereafter his company became suppliers to the Court. His Imperial Easter Eggs made him famous and he became permanently connected to the royal court. At the height of his fame he employed more than 450 craftsmen and designers at his St. Petersburg studio. According to Habsburg most of his pieces were destroyed by the Bolsheviks and only a few are left  in Russia.

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