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Legacy of a Fallen Dynasty
Peter Carl Faberge


Many Faberge eggs are direct depictions of historical events of the time. In 1897, Faberge presented the Coronation egg in elaborately enameled gold, complete with a miniature working replica of the coach that Nicholas and Alexandra rode to the coronation ceremonies. Faberge also commemorated the completion of the Trans-Siberian Railway (1900), the tercentenary celebration of the Romanov dynasty (1913), and World War I (1916) with his masterpieces.

As the reign of Nicholas II continued, discontentment grew and Russia readied itself for change. By 1904 the situation was dangerously volatile. Leo Tolstoy pled with the czar to listen to the people and work towards national reform, writing:

a third of Russia is in a state of emergency... The army of police open and secret is constantly growing... the prisons, places of exile, and labor camps are overflowing... The censorship has descended to nonsensical prohibitions... Religious persecutions were never so frequent and cruel as now... Armed forces are... sent out against the people with live cartridges. In many places there has already been bloodshed between brothers, and further and more cruel bloodshed is imminent everywhere...
(Letter to Nicholas II from Leo Tolstoy, 1902).

Tension mounted until it reached the breaking point on January 9, 1905, when a crowd of over a hundred thousand peasants gathered at the palace to present the czar with a list of complaints about working conditions. Nicholas refused to sympathize with his people, and when he failed to appear, soldiers panicked and began to shoot into the crowd. Although many died that day, the most significant outcome was that the peoples perception of their ruler had unalterably changed. The myth about a kind czar-priest was shot apart, along with the unarmed crowd ( Nemirovskaya 313). They no longer viewed him as a divinely appointed ruler and protector, but as an uncaring tyrant. The people demanded reform, and in taking the first step away from imperial traditions, Nicholas was forced to adopt a new system of constitutional monarchy in 1905. He expressed his feelings about the reluctant change thus: "I have the firm and absolute faith that the destiny of Russia, my own fate and that of my family are in the hands of Almighty God, who has placed me where I am. Whatever may happen, I shall bow to His will, conscious that I have never had any other thought but that of serving the country He has entrusted to me (Treasures).

As the stress of political unrest grew, Russia looked to its past, both near and distant, for moral support, and Faberges eggs from this period reflect this return to history. Many of the eggs served as mementoes to the royal family of better times. The Alexander Palace Egg is a replica of the Romanovs favorite country estate and the Standart Egg is modeled after the royal yacht. Faberge chose to embody the grandeur of past generations in many of these eggs. An example is the Peter the Great Egg, which features a recreation of Peters monument in St. Petersburg in the classical style. In 1913 Faberge crafted the Romanov Tercentenary Egg to commemorate the 300-year rule of the Romanov dynasty, as well as to uplift the morale of Nicholas II in the face of current political setbacks. It is a proud work, adorned externally with the faces of past rulers and containing a globe depicting the expansion of the Russian empire from the time of the first Romanov ruler.

Pictures of select Imperial Eggs


The Lilies of the Valley Egg  1898

The Lilies of the Valley Egg 1898 Pink was Alexandras favorite color, and her favorite flower was the lily of the valley. The pictures are of Nicholas II and his two oldest daughters. The flowers are made of pearls and diamonds.

The Trans-Siberian Railway Egg  1900

The Trans-Siberian Railway Egg 1900 This egg commemorates the completion of the trans- siberian railway line. On the silver part in the middle is etched a railway line map, with the stations of various jewels. The train is of gold and platinum with an ingenious wind-up mechanism. The cars are individually distinct: a gentlemens car, a restaurant, and even a traveling church are part of the foot-long locomotive.