Cultural Gems in Russia's Imperial Capital: Faberge museum

Updated: Dec 6, 2019

The list of five best gems of St Petersburg was published by National Geographic in January 2018. So I decided that right now as you are preparing for St Petersburg visit this article will help you to make a decision. Why should you include it into one of St Petersburg guided tours?

Coronation Egg, 1897

As a local I could say I am proud that the museum was opened about four years ago. Before Faberge Eggs were exhibited only in Moscow in Armoury Chamber of Kremlin and also were in private collections. Certainly you will find many wonderful items in the Diamond treasury of the Hermitage but no Imperial Eggs there.

Bay tree Egg, 1911

We all heard about this jewellery by Faberge but do you know how he became so famous? Carl Faberge was born in the family of jewellers but at that time in 1846 it was a modest store. Carl studied in Italy and even worked as a restorer at the Imperial Hermitage museum. Once he copied the collection of antic gold and both original one and the copy were exhibited in Moscow. Emperor Alexander the Third visited the exhibition and was impressed by the talented young man. Thus Carl received his first order from the Royal family. It should be the Easter surprise. Certainly the shape of the egg was quite traditional for Easter gift. The design of the "Hen Egg" of 1885 was even described by Royal customer like the one they saw in Copenhagen. Carl created his own variation: white enamelled shell, gold yolk and even inside the hen he put tiny miniature of Imperial crown. That was a success thus it became a tradition succeeded by Nicholas the Second as well. Totally were made 50 Eggs. Certainly Faberge company worked for rich customers but unique design was only a privilege of Royal family. As a smart businessman Faberge offered his colleagues to work for the company. Thus both sides got preferences, Faberge enlarged the range of the goods and goldsmiths got the stamp-signature of the famous company.

Lilies of the valley Egg, 1898

The exhibition will amaze you and by the way it is still one of my favourite museums. First of all it's a private museum. "The Link of Times Cultural-Historical Foundation" spend their own money for the restoration of the former palace. And only Viktor Vekselberg's study managed to buy a collection of Malcolm Forbes. Several rooms of the museum are full of small souvenirs, gifts, paintings, icons, ceremonial dish and certainly Eggs. I highly recommend to include a private tour of Faberge museum in the program of St Petersburg tours.

Coming back to the history .. Russian revolution changed the country completely. When Karl Faberge emigrated in 1918 his two elder sons were kept under the arrest in new Russia. By the way at that time many nobility families thought that "Red revolution" will not last very long. They were leaving the country without private property and a hidden treasure was left in the secret rooms of their palaces. Many rich people were sure that the Faberge house is the most reliable safe in the new post-revolutionary Russia. The original workshop of Faberge located at 24, Bolshaya Morskaya street, the firm sign is still by the door. In this house Feberge used as the safe an elevator. But anyway Bolsheviks found the stash.

Egg Clock Cockerel, 1900

What about today? Faberge sons emigrated from Red Russia after they were liberated and founded in Europe new jewellery company. Later, the company passed from hand to hand for a long time. Since 2007 Faberge brand is the property of Faberge Ltd bought by South African businessman Brian

Gilbertson from Unilever company.

Good to know: The museum is opened every day from 10 am till 8 pm.

Now you know the full story so what are you waiting for? Time to decide about your favourite Egg, enjoy the interiors and do St Petersburg sightseeing. Find your St Petersburg guide on our site.

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