Between 1885-1916, Carl Faberge made a series of jeweled Easter eggs for the Russian Imperial Family The tradition began with Tsar Alexander III commissioning the “Hen Egg” (top left) in 1885 for his wife, the tsarina Marie Feodorovna. His son, Tsar NIcholas II and his wife, Tsarina Alexandra continued this tradition until 1916.
There were no strict rules as to the designs other than they had to feature a surprise in the center. However, each egg took a year or more to make; they became increasingly ornate and expensive over the years, with complex mechanical features being added.
The most expensive is the Winter Egg from 1913 (bottom right): covered with platinum and 3,246 diamonds to resemble frost, it sold at auction in 2002 for for almost $10 million.
Of the approximately fifty eggs created for the Romanovs, forty-two survived the Revolution of 1918. Some are in museums and others in private collections.
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