Faberge Mosaic Egg
About the Egg
his is the 1914 Fabergé Mosaic Easter egg, a gift from Tsar Nicholas II to his wife, Tsarina Alexandra Feodorovna. When most people think of the renowned name “Fabergé,” they think of a single man crafting glorious objects for the Russian Court. But did you know Peter Carl Fabergé employed an entire team of designers, master workmen, and apprentices to create these spectacular pieces under his name?
The egg represents the height of craftsmanship, and is one of the most technically complicated eggs to ever be created for the Tsar. The egg was designed by Alma Theresia Pihl (1888-1976) and assembled by Albert Holmström (1876-1925.) Alma’s inspiration for the egg came from watching her mother do needlepoint work by the fire in their home.
Crafted mainly of platinum, each setting for the stones was painstaking cut out of a platinum sheet by hand to form a mesh. Then, stones were polished and calibrated to fit each individual spot in the egg. With no two stones ever quite the same dimensions and having to account for the curved surface, you can only imagine the level of skill, time, and discipline this technique requires for such a masterpiece.
The egg is set with an array of sapphires, emeralds, garnets, rubies, pearls, and topaz, along side rose and full cut diamonds. The top of the egg is capped with a cabochon moonstone as the finial, underneath is the monogram of the Tsarina. The exact cost of the egg is unknown as the original invoice was destroyed during the Russian revolution.
Unlike many imperial eggs, this one still retains its “surprise.” Hidden inside, and secured by two gold clips; a medallion painted on ivory of the Tsar and Tsarina’s children are framed in gold painted with enamel in a floral pearl and vine motif. It is also topped with the Imperial Crown.
Later History and Today
During the dark days following the bloody revolution, the egg would be confiscated by the provisional government. In order to raise fund, the egg would be sold by the Antikvariat in 1933 for 5,000 Roubles.
The same year, the egg would find a new home on May 22. It was purchased by King George V from Cameo Corner for £250 (about £16,500 today,) or “half cost” as noted in the ledger. King George likely purchased the egg for Queen Mary’s birthday on May 26.
The egg currently resides in the Royal Collection Trust.