The red egg is the most recognizable symbol of the great Christian holiday of Easter. According to legend, Mary Magdalene laid eggs on Emperor Tiberius and told him about the resurrection of Christ. The emperor said that if this was true, the egg he was holding should turn red. And it turned red. Since then, the tradition of painting eggs for Easter has been going on for centuries, the main color being red. A tradition that has been observed over the centuries by all Christians – from the poorest to the richest, including the families of the ruling monarchs.
It was by the will of perhaps the most glamorous monarchical family – the Russian imperial Romanov dynasty – that the most expensive Easter eggs were born – those of the great jewelry family Faberge. In their manufacture, they cost between several thousand and several tens of thousands of gold rubles, and are now valued at between several million and several tens of millions of dollars.
The history of Faberge’s Easter eggs began in the second half of the 19th century. The first was created by an unknown master of the jewelry company in 1885 by order of Emperor Alexander III. It was made as a gift to his wife Maria Fyodorovna, born as Sofia Frederica Dagmar Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glucksburg Princess of Denmark. By the way, her sister Alexandra was at the same time the wife of King Edward VII of Great Britain.
The first egg (The Hen Egg) is made of enamel and contains a golden yolk. When the “yolk” is opened, there is a golden hen inlaid with rubies. In the original version of the hen there was a golden crown inlaid with diamonds, which, however, was later lost.
After the revolution in Russia in 1917, the egg disappeared. In 1934 it appeared in the Berry Collection, where it was purchased that year for £ 85 ($ 430). After many resales, it was purchased in 2004 by Victor Vekselberg and is in the Forbes collection. The current value of the egg, which is in the Faberge Museum in St. Petersburg, is $ 6 million. dollars.
Empress Maria Fyodorovna was so impressed with the gift that at her request Alexander III made Peter Carl Faberge and his company official suppliers to the Russian Imperial House with a commitment to make at least one egg every Easter.
From the moment of receiving the rights of official supplier to the imperial court of the Romanovs, until the end of its existence Faberge produced 50-54 eggs, seven of which are considered missing.
Probably Faberge’s most valuable egg in the world is the recently rediscovered Third Imperial Easter Egg. Its value is estimated at approximately $ 33 million. It was created by the master of the company “Faberge” August Holmström in 1887, again as a gift from the Russian Tsar Alexander III to his wife Maria Fyodorovna. Designed in the style of Louis XVI, Faberge’s most expensive egg has an 18-carat gold case adorned with sapphires and diamonds.
Inside was an impressive surprise, a luxurious 14-carat gold Vacheron Constantin women’s watch with gold diamond hands. This unique Faberge egg was found by a scrap dealer in 2011 who was initially unaware of the value of his purchase. The egg lay in his kitchen for many years, until he studied it and realized that it might be a missing Faberge egg. There are a few scratches on the egg where potential buyers have checked its gold content, which only adds to its history. It was bought in 2014 at an auction in London by an anonymous collector, where it is valued at $ 33 million.
Faberge’s next most important egg is the Rothschild Egg. It was designed by Peter Carl Faberge in 1902. It was made by the master master Michael Perchin and the watchmaker Nikolai Rode.
The egg was a gift from Beatrice Efrusi de Rothschild to Germain Halfen for her engagement to Baron Edward de Rothschild. This is one of the few Faberge eggs that were not made for the Russian imperial family.
The egg is made of gold, silver, enamel, diamonds and pearls. Every hour a rooster with diamonds comes out of the egg, which nods and crows.
It was sold by Christie’s for £ 8.9 million on November 28, 2007. Today, a Rothschild egg is valued at $ 25 million. It was presented at the Hermitage in St. Petersburg in 2014.
And in third place in value is the “Egg of the Imperial Coronation”. Made in 1897 by Mikhail Perhin and Henrik Wigström under the supervision of Faberge, this egg is intended to mark the coronation of Empress Alexandra Fyodorovna.
It is valued at $ 18 million. Inspired by the golden robe worn by the Empress at her coronation, the egg is made of gold and yellow enamel and inlaid with diamonds and diamonds.
Inside the velvet-lined egg is an exact replica of the imperial coronation carriage, decorated with a miniature imperial crown and six eagles. The spear has opening doors, moving wheels, a folding ladder and shock absorbers. This precious egg originally also contained a pendant with precious stones and two display cases.
In 2004 the egg was bought by Victor Waxelberg and is currently in the Faberge Museum in St. Petersburg.