The rebirth of the House of Fabergé
Apr. 2019. I close my eyes. I breathe deeply. I imagine a beautiful window display looking satisfied with the 52 Easter Eggs the House of Fabergé created for the Romanov family: the imperial ones. I smile. The tiny surprises that were lost, the eggs mysteriously missing, the unfinished ones, those who were sold to build a new Motherland…In my dream they are all together, complete, at peace. They are home again.
Imagining so much beauty in miniature captivates and enchants me. A memory of my childhood arises. My eyes fixed on the counter of that bakery where some afternoons my mother used to take me for a little treat. Choosing was the hardest thing. Those elegant «chevalier» cakes looking like snowy mountains, overfilled with cream and splattered with thin almonds, the chubby sponge cakes with custard and cinnamon, the chocolate covered «petit choux»…
I turn my attention back to my Fabergé window display. As in the past, it is almost impossible to decide which one I like better. The first egg, the one apparently simple and modest, hides a miniature golden hen embellished with the imperial crown and a ruby pendant. No, maybe the one who keeps the replica of the imperial coach used on coronation days… the one that unfolds itself like an accordion and becomes a photo frame held by a pelican…or the diamond serpent, head and tongue pointing at 12 o’clock.
It is so easy to understand the excitement experienced by their recipients. Fabergé, vous êtes un génie incomparable, wrote the Empress Maria Fiódorovna Románova to her sister, Queen Alexandra of England, when she received the Easter egg that paid homage to Catherine the Great in 1914. Inside, Catherine the Great herself in miniature was seated in her sedan chair carried by two servants who started the move by winding up such exquisite little toy. Every year it was not the tsarina who received her Easter egg with surprise… it was simply a girl with her eyes fixed on a cake display.
I take some steps backwards to widen my view and admire the greatness of my vision. I think of the people who gave life to these unique pieces and of the magnificent cultural and artistic heritage in which they were inspired. Master goldsmiths, they call them. Patience virtuosos, expert creators of forms and beauty, I would say. My heart tells me that inside such delicate microstructures with their precious gemstones, enamels, clocks, movement and sound mechanisms…they hid something more, something barely perceptible.
Most of them tell us about the Imperial family: their origins, important events such as the birth of Alexei, the last heir, their love or other significant milestones in the history of Russia. Others celebrate nature, flowers, animals, time. But behind those layers of historical and artistic information, the Fabergé easter eggs are custodians of universal messages. The mystery of life.
Their creators shaped their own language merging the symbology of the materials, geometries and colors they used. Coded messages like the ones hidden in the heraldry, the pyramids of Egypt or any of the inventions or masterpieces designed by those who seek the essence of truth and love. Information that can only be accessed when the eyes are closed and the heart is opened. Reconciling the past.
Such is the magic and the power of this precious window display, a beautiful place of light and peace. There they are. Shining. I quietly observe and with tears in my eyes; I smile again.
The heart of the legacy of Fabergé beats in this unique collection of Imperial Easter eggs made for the Romanov family between 1885 and 1917. Miniature chronicles of a lineage that governed Russia for more than three centuries. A legacy that has an exceptional value for society.
The egg is a symbol of life. A gift given in Russia and in many other places around the world at this time of the year. Made with chocolate or precious gemstones, it represents the new life after the death in the journey of our inner personal evolution.
Carl Fabergé was a businessman who loved culture, the beauty of forms. Bringing his name and his brand to the higher meaning of an object that represents the awakening to love and to a new life, is the best way to do something good with his legacy. As well as to the higher meaning of the gemstones embedded in the jewels that bear their name again in the 21st century: the ruby, divine creativity, good fortune, loyalty and love; the emerald, hope and future, renewal and growth…revealers of the truth that inspire us to search for the meaning of life, justice, compassion and harmony.
At the beginning of the 20th century Fabergé was Russia's largest jewelry company. It died in 1918, the same day as Nicolas, Alejandra, Olga, Tatiana, Maria, Anastasia and Alexei Romanov. They, who inherited by inertia the weight of the imperial seal, paid with their lives the price of their family lineage's past.
Fate determined that young Gustav Fabergé would emigrate with his family to Saint Petersburg, the city built by one of the first Romanovs, Peter the Great, so that his son Carl Fabergé could be witness and artisan of his most distinguished descendants and their sad ending.
After the nationalization of the company and the confiscation of its stock that same year, Fabergé's legacy fell apart and took very different paths.
The new House of Fabergé (as they are rebuilding it today, with the traditional business mindset) is a window to the past, to a time gone bye. But in fact, it can be a door to the future, to peace, to transform our culture. For millennia human beings have created beautiful tangible objects and terrible relationships between each other. Putting order and having an opportunity for a new life requires being open to be aware of the disorder and of those who have been forgotten. The history of the House of Fabergé has plenty of both.
Cover photo: ©The link of times. Imperial coronation Egg. Fabergé, 1897.
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