Was only 24 years old in 1870. He was educated in Germany and apprenticed under several of the best goldsmiths of the day in Europe. In 1870 he took over his fathers modest jewelry business.....at which time he decided to challenge established tradition and shift from carat content to craftsmanship and creativity. Faberge supervised some of the most talented craftsman to be found, however he never worked on any of the pieces that bear the family name. Carl's particular genius was his ability to inspire the artists and artisans to work with the designers and miniaturists, creating the incredible fantasy pieces that have brought enduring fame to the House of Faberge.
Between 1886 and 1916 a total of 53 Imperial Easter Eggs were presented to the two Czarinas of Russia.....Alexandra, wife of Czar Nicholas 2nd and Maria, his mother. The master artisans for these beautiful treasures were Michael Evlampievich Perchin a prodigy at age 26 who came to work for Faberge in 1886....and Henrik Wigstrom a Swedish Finn that worked as his assistant. All of the Imperial Easter Eggs made before 1903 are marked by Perchin, those after 1903 were marked by Wigstrom.
In the early 1960's Malcome Forbes began collecting the Faberge masterpieces.......in the fall of 1978 the Forbes collection finally had more pieces than the Soviet Government had in theirs.
Executed in the Louis 15th style, Spring flowers is smaller than the later more extravagant treasures. The gold shell is enameled a deep strawberry red on elaborately engraved or (guilloche) ground and encased in a rococo gold cage. Encircling the egg from bottom to top, a band of rose diamonds terminates in a diamond-set clasp, completing the decoration of the egg itself
The fluted bowenite base, also banded with rose diamonds, rests on a circlet of fretted gold scrolling. A short gold pedestal joins the egg to the base.
This Design uses an ostrich egg that measures about 16 inches from end to end. It stands 13 inches tall. It is decorated on the outside with flat gold braid with black trim.....the Chain is crystal aurora borealis rhinestone........the top final is decorated with crystal drops and rhinestone..........on the inside there is a hand blown glass figurine, a bouquet of flowers with 2 hummingbirds hovering over them........this figurine is mounted on a bevel cut mirror that is in turn attached to a turntable on a Swiss music box....the tune is "The Rose" when the figurine is twisted it winds the music box and as the tune plays the figurine turns. It stands on an onyx base that is cream colored with streaks of ivory and peach.The Rose is one of my favorites.
This design was inspired by an egg I saw in a jewelry store at the Mirage in Las Vegas, Nevada.....the price tag was $600 and it had nothing inside other than a velvet lining and was not nearly as elaborate on the outside.
This design uses a 13 inch rhea egg......the shell was badly stained so I painted it with a white pearl paint and then sprayed it with opal essence to seal it...The rhinestone chain is crystal aurora borealis. The door drops down like a drawbridge to shows the palace inside that is sitting on a snow covered mountain....the palace is made of hand blown glass with gold trim on the spires..... The drawbridge is connected to the chain and crystal drops on the sides of the egg....... When you pull the crystal drops it also pulls the drawbridge/door closed......the overall height of this egg is about 11 inches....it stands on a corian base that is painted the color of the shell...
I find the natural shells beautiful and intriguing....for that reason in most of my designs I try to keep the shell color natural however my love of color overcomes me and on occasion I find that some new invented paint is required to match or go with an onyx base, crystal bead, rhinestone chain or whim.
In this series of pages you will find some information about eggs and egg art... I am a teacher of this wonderful craft and have been so for more than 15 years....some in the adult education area of our local college and now at my home in private......my class size ranges from 4 to 8 students...... with 4 faithfuls who have been with me now more than 7 years.......sometimes I wonder who teaches who....they are all wonderfully creative and talented.
Most of all you will find lots of designs......as time permits I will be taking pictures of my eggs and publishing them here.........in the future I will add an area for those not so fortunate to have access to the wonderful computer system that I have........so any of you other artists out there who would like your art included on these pages feel free to e-mail me.
I am for the most part self taught.......when I started out there was no one in the area that found this interesting....so lucky for me I ran into the cream of the egg designing crop....Aline Becker, Sally LeVan, Mildred Davis, Barbara Tison..........and of course my very special friend Mildred VanDyne who watches over me and is ever there when I need help.....Mildred has everything and what she doesn't have she knows where to get it.....there are many more out there but these ladies were the ones that I could follow because their work was published....The Egg artists of the world need to thank Aline Becker for her diligent work in publishing "Eggs" for so many years.......in my opinion this collection of works is a must for every serious egg artist.
For those of you who are not familiar with "Eggs" it is by far the most comprehensive collection of egg artist design of our century this wonderful lady devoted much of her time and energy to the collecting and then publishing these wonderful designs from all over the world in her "Eggs" publication every 3 months........ My own collection of "Eggs" goes back to 1984 and I know I am missing a number of years before that..... She has also published a book called "Heirloom Eggs" which is a compilation of many of the designs that were published in the early issues of "Eggs" included in this book are the nuts and bolts know how that every serious egg artist must have.
Well enough of all that for now lets get on with another design.....
A Seraphim Angle is housed inside a rhea shell. he egg stands 9 inches tall and has 3 hearts cut out.....two of the hearts are then turned upside down and placed behind the angle.The angle is one of the collection made by "Roman" called "Seraphim Classics" this one is Ophelia the "Heart seeker". This design is my 1995 Christmas egg.
The shell is a light cream color....the inside is coated with iridescent poly flakes and the hearts are light blue ply polyflakes...the heart opening has alternate aqua blue rhinestone and pearls and the edge of the opening is decorated with double loop braid and then every other loop has a 3 mm pearl attached....the stand is is a lovely shade of light green with cream and peach striations. This egg is simple and classically elegant.
This egg is a large goose egg that is cut on its side and hinged in the back the unique thing about it is the top final. It covers a music box key....the music box is in the top of the egg and when you twist the final it winds up the music box and as it plays the butterfly and flowers turn around. The inside is lined in a plush emerald green velvet and can house a cornflakes surprise.
The outside is adorned with light yellow rhinestone chain and there are pearl drops hanging off both the stand and the final.....this is a truly beautiful easter egg.......it was an easter project done in my class a few years back........the girls did them in an array of colors.
This egg is another of the extended eggs.....for a while it was hard to get the larger egg shells so I devised this system to extend the shells of the regular size goose egg.....in a short time they were the size of the jumbo 11 to 12 inch shells....plus the extensions are very pretty.
This shell was sprayed a light ivory....then decorated with loop braid and olive rhinestone......the findings that were used as extensions are decorated with opal cabs.........and the beautiful figurine inside is one from the Fontinini collection and is called the Drummer Boy....as you can see it is a young boy playing a drum and tending his lambs.
The inside of the shell is gold leaf........there is a tiny tree beside him with sand and grass at his feet.........this was one of the class projects that we all did during the Christmas Season a year or so back.
This egg is the second of the Valentine Eggs, because I did not feel the first valentine girl egg was large enough and I did not have an abundance of large goose eggs I decided to try an extended egg for this design........... the doll had already been created and I felt she was beautiful from every angle. For that reason I wanted all sides of the egg to be open so she could be viewed from all sides. The egg I used was a regular size just about 9 inches from end to end. I selected a very fat egg to give as much room at the girth.......to give plenty of height I picked extension filigree that was about 1 1/2 inches long.....the trick in extending eggs, is of course to get it back together with even spaces at each extension and all of the extensions matching where they were cut apart. Every piece must be marked carefully so after painting and decorating you can still find your marks.
I must admit getting this egg back together was a real challenge....... each of the extending filigree had to be bent to simulate the curve of a shell that was on longer there........... The egg shell extensions were very fragile and no pressure at all could be placed upon them.......after many long hours I finally got it all back together but knew it was far to difficult to give to my class. I then set out trying any number of methods to do these extensions that is foolproof and easy. I finally succeeded and the class all made this egg as well.
The shell was painted white and then finished with pearly mist..........the inside is finished with polyflake.....it has loop braid at all inside edges.... the outside edges have red rhinestone and pearl chain....there are very tiny red glass hearts on the extending filigree. Also on the stand the same little hearts are decorating the large filigree bead and the cup under the egg.........again I have included a close up of the stand.....many of the beautiful beads and findings in this stand are no longer made....... unfortunately some of the more beautiful things from the past are just that past. These beautiful beads came from Sally LeVan.
This egg in total stands about 9 inches tall and is one of the tallest projects that is a goose egg.
This egg was the first doll valentine egg I made, my initial idea was to have the heart cut on the egg and the red glass hearts to be the focus of the egg.... so the heart opening was made to go in front.....then there are 4 small hearts cut out on each side.....over these open hearts were epoxied heart filigree then the red glass hearts. The inside of the egg is finished with epoxies polyflake....the shell openings are finished with tiny loop braid and red rhinestone chain.........the shell itself is painted stark white then sprayed with pearly mist perhaps 4 or 5 coats to get a very heavy pearl look the corian base was done the same...... I love to build my own stands and for the most part that is what I do. I am including a close up shot so you can see how it was done....... you will notice that the beads and findings are common with most of your suppliers.........I build these stands on a rod that is inserted into a board that was drilled with a drill press taking care that the hole is perpendicular to the board............if you start out straight your chances of having a straight stand when finished is better......keep in mind these beads and findings are usually not even so it takes some care to keep things straight..... many times I epoxy only one or two beads at a time so they do not slip out of line.
When the whole egg was finished I decided to design the valentine girl to go inside. As she was placed inside it was very clear that the heart opening could not be in the front as the peak of the heart hid her face....so now the heart is in the back.
After all was said and done I should have used a much larger egg (this was a 9 inch goose).....but it turned out well anyway.....my class loved making her too.
Czar Nicholas presented me "with a most beautiful egg. It is a true chef d'oeuvre in pink enamel. . . an unbelievably beautiful and superb piece of work." So wrote the Russian Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna of the pink Faberge egg (or "Catherine the Great Egg"), a gift from her son Nicholas 111. Though its contents, a figurine of the Empress Catherine settled in an exquisite "portechaise" chair, are long gone, the rest of the design is still intact: a splendorous concoction of pearl-framed cameos set in a diamond-encrusted gold shell.
Today this treasure is part of an extensive Peter Carl Faberge exhibit on national tour. 400 pieces designed by the legendary jeweler and goldsmith.
Born in 1846 in St. Petersburg, Faberge launched his career by teaming up with his brother to follow in their jeweler father's footsteps. So brilliant were the designs the two created for the 1882 PanRussian Exhibition where Peter Carl won the gold medal they immediately attracted the attention of the Russian imperial family. Named goldsmith and jeweler to the Russian Court, he created his first imperial Easter egg soon after, and the House of Faberge was on its way.
Yet the famed Faberge eggs were only a fraction of the jeweler's body of work. All told, the company created some 150,000 pieces silver, jewelry, objects d'arts, sculpted flower studies, and miniature sculpted animals, in addition to eggs. Unfortunately, almost nothing remains of the silver and jewelry; most of it was seized by the Soviets during the Bolshevik Revolution and later sold. Indeed it was during this revolution that the workshop itself was closed down and Faberge fled to France, never to work again. With the disappearance of his glittering world, he became deeply saddened and died in Switzerland in 1920.
That Faberge was not simply an adept craftsman but rather a virtuoso is evident in dozens and dozens of pieces in the exhibit; one piece often cited is the "Lilies of the Valley Basket." Created for Empress Alexandra in 1896 and her favorite Faberge object it consists of gleaming pearl flowers dangling delicately from gold stems that grow out of spun green-gold moss inside a golden basket. The "Elephant Bell Push,"-created around 1903, is another example renowned not just for its brilliance but its whimsicality as well. A magnificent amalgam of gold, jade, rubies, and emeralds, it emits a ring when the little elephant is pressed.
Guest curator and renowned Faberge expert Archduke Dr. Geza von Habsburg, says that although Faberge was famed for using precious gems, he considered himself an artist and his design more important than the materials that comprised it. "And unlike such commercial jewelers as Tiffany and Cartier, who worked mostly with large, valuable stones, Faberge also used smaller ones," von Habsburg says. "He also favored wood, cork steel, and copper every bit as much as gold and silver."