Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter! Speaking of Eggs....

It is my understanding that in Imperial Russia, Easter is the most important of the holy festivals, and just like today, it was traditional to exchange eggs to commemorate the resurrection. 

I've always been fascinated with Faberge's eggs, they are after all masterpieces made of the finest and rarest of all materials by Master Goldsmiths, Stone Setters, Enamalists, Engravers and Micro-Mechanical Engineers.  The craftsmen kept each egg a secret and each of Faberge's eggs took over a year to make.

This particular example, commissioned by Tsar Nicholas II for Empress Marie Feodorovna, is dated April 5th, 1898.  The egg sits atop four legs of hand engraved green gold that seem to sprout like Spring's first crocus.  The egg is a delicate translucent pink guilloche enamel (a process where the metal is engraved under the enamel creating a pattern) over gold, with green enamel leaves and lillies of the valley made of Diamonds and Pearls, (the Pearls are natural of course) topped with a pave Diamond crown capped with a cabochon cut Ruby, or the cherry on top, of this gorgeous masterpiece!

Every egg contained "a surprise" and in this case, three tiny portraits, The Tsar and first two children, Olga and Tatiana.  When a Pearl button on the side is turned, the portraits grow out of the egg, and when the Pearl is turned the other way, they retract once again, keeping the egg's miniature secret.

It is in this spirit that we hide eggs, plan their little surprises, or simply endure Easter egg hunts, even after we are "too old."  For myself,  Easter is a time of rebirth! It is a great time to celebrate family, or maybe get outside with a wonderful friend like I did today, (thanks Sally:) to enjoy early Spring in Chicago and those first crocus popping out of the ground.

On a side note, next time you find yourself at an antique store, show or garage sale, you may want to conduct a little Easter egg hunt of your own... 50 Faberge eggs were made, 8 are missing.

Want more info on Faberge?


Parkside Phoenix said...

very interesting read.
Thanks Lisa!

Lisa Jungers said...

Thanks! They really are just fascinating, aren't they?!

Rachel said...

Very well written and informative!!

Leonard (Chicago Jeweler) said...

Thats how we Russians do it!!