In just looking around the gallery, I realize we have many reasons to be thankful for Tsar Alexander III. It was under his Royal patronage that the already considerable talents of Carl Faberge flourished. A legendary name in luxury goods, Faberge’s company is responsible for some of the most refined pieces in the gallery.
In 1870, at the age of 24, Carl Faberge took the helm of his father’s shop in St. Petersburg. At this point, the elder Faberge had already built a thriving silver and jewelry business at the Bolshaya Morskaya Street location. Growing up in his father’s store undoubtedly forged Carl’s path as craftsman but, more importantly, it afforded him opportunities that were not available to those without a similar support network.
In his youth Carl Faberge attended St. Petersburg’s German-language grammar school, but his studies later took the budding craftsman abroad. This education included the practical aspects that came with an apprenticeship at the Frankfurt am Main jeweler Friedmann, and also a solid framework for his future as a businessman furnished by studies in economics.
A testament to Faberge’s vision, the man is quoted as having said: “expensive things interest me little if the value is merely in so many diamonds and pearls.” Carl Faberge truly believed in bringing out the intrinsic beauty of natural materials through his work; he would pioneer a shift towards the use of materials native to Russia, and not just rely on the stones and materials more commonly associated with luxury goods.
The freedom to pursue his artistic whims came with the Easter egg. This, of course, was the Imperial Easter egg. His first endeavor at crafting this item was so admired that he would win Alexander III’s Royal patronage, giving him access to almost unlimited resources and a security of creativity that was not available to him previously.
Carl Faberge was now responsible for crafting gifts not only for the Royal family, but also for statesmen, visiting dignitaries, and tokens to be awarded at important ceremonies. The foreign recipients of his creations brought these goods back to their home countries, spreading Faberge’s popularity across the world; a popularity still enjoyed to this day, and one that we are happy to be able to share with you.