The Third Imperial Faberge Easter Egg
Following on from an exhibition of The Third Imperial Faberge Easter Egg at Wartski’s in London, we take a quick look at how the egg, once lost, came to be found again.
Originally given by Alexander III, Emperor and Autocrat of all the Russians to Empress Marie Feodorovna for Easter 1887, the egg was last seen in public in March 1902 at an exhibition in St Petersburg. After that it wasn’t heard of again until an American scrap metal dealer in the Midwest paid just $13,000 for it, hoping to sell it for scrap. After failing to sell the treasure on and after a desperate online search of the words ‘egg’ and ‘Vacheron Constantin’, the name of the famous watchmaker whose lady’s watch is mounted inside the egg, the dealer realised that he may have something important.
His internet search led him to Wartski, the renowned London jewellers and Royal Warrant-holding experts on Carl Faberge’s work. He flew to London to show Wartski photographs of his egg which left Kieran McCarthy, Wartski specialist, speechless. McCarthy then flew to America to verify the egg in person to find it sitting on a kitchen table alongside some cupcakes. Assessing it’s value at some £20 million, Wartski then purchased the egg for a private collector.
To quote Wartski’s website, the "jewelled and ridged yellow gold Egg stands on its original tripod pedestal, which has chased lion paw feet and is encircled by coloured gold garlands suspended from cabochon blue sapphires topped with rose diamond set bows. It contains a surprise of a lady’s watch by Vacheron Constantin, with a white enamel dial and openwork diamond set gold hands. The watch has been taken from its case to be mounted in the Egg and is hinged, allowing it to stand upright.” Not bad for £8,00!
If you have any Faberge eggs that you would like to sell, please contact Simon Rufus, jewellery specialist at Grand Auctions, Folkestone, Kent for further details.