Fabergé eggs are jeweled eggs made by the Russian House of Fabergé from 1885 through 1917. The eggs were used as gifts during Easter. Some smaller, non-imperial eggs have been made into jewelry pendants and boxes.
The most famous Imperial eggs were designed by the lord of the Fabergé House for Alexander III and II of Russia. Out of 50 Imperial eggs, only 42 remain. Two more eggs were designed for the Romonov family, but they were exiled just before they were completed.
The eggs are primarily composed of precious metals and hard stones,with a shell decorated with combinations of enamel and gemstones.
The eggs first became famous when the Russian Tsar Alexaender III decided to give his wife the Empress Maria Fedorovna an egg designed by the Fabergé family jewelers.
When Maria was young, she was captivated by a beautiful jewelled egg which she saw in her aunt’s house in Denmark.Thus, Alexander, her husband, thought that a gold bejewelled egg would be just what she wanted. The Hen Egg, as it was named, contained a few “surprises”! When the egg is opened, a golden yolk is revealed. Every surprise in turn opens up to show yet another surprise.
The Hen Egg with Two Surprises.
In all, there are about four surprises, two of which are now lost.
The Empress was so happy with this egg that she had Alexander employ the Fabergé goldsmiths at court to design another egg. By this time, the head of the Fabergé House, Peter Carl Fabergé, was given complete control over all the designing or any more Imperial eggs. From this time onwards, the design for every egg became more elaborate.
It became the Fabergé family custom not even to let the Czar know what the egg was to look like.
After the death of Alexander II in 1894, his son, Nicholas I presented an egg to his wife, the empress Alexandra Fedorovna and to the Dowager Empress Maria Fedorovna, his mother.
Similar to Cloisonne!