Faberge’s Eggs by Toby Faber turned out to be a highly readable story of the famous craftsman Carl Faberge, and his invention of the even more famous Easter Eggs for the Russian royal family. Until I read this book, I didn’t realise that each successive Egg accurately reflected that year’s events in the lives of the royal family. As such, each of the fifty known Imperial Eggs are a symbol of the culture and times of Imperial Russia. Faberge’s fame grew from the first Egg, the Hen Egg of plain exterior but marvellous interior, and became well and truly established with the second Egg. The House of Faberge then turned out more items to meet the growing public demand: snuff boxes, small animals, smaller replicas of the Romanov Eggs. They also made items suitable for the Romanovs to give as diplomatic gifts. This explains why there are so many genuine Faberge items worldwide today, but only fifty actual Imperial Eggs.
The book contains some coloured photographs of a dozen of the Eggs. Up close and carefully studied, one can appreciate the sheer beauty and highest level of workmanship (fit for an Empress) which made each Egg. The book was published in 2006, but the Internet provides further reading and research into the marvellous work of Faberge, his employees, their workshops and branches.
Mr Faber gives some hope to today’s treasure hunters. Of the famous fifty eggs, seven remain missing or lost. The most recent egg was identified in 2014, in the possession of an American scrap metal dealer who had been about to melt it down for its components but chanced to research his egg’s hallmarks first. He took his photos of it to a London expert who was stunned at the discovery and brokered the sale for £20million.