What do you buy for someone who has everything? Edwardian royalty and bon vivants foundd the solution in the hands of jeweller Peter Carl Faberge. He was already known in Europe for the opulent, gem-encrusted Easter eggs he created every year for the Romanov family when he opened his first international shop in London in 1903. His customers were a glittering clientele of aristocrats, maharaias, exiled grand dukes and socialites who swarmed to it in droves.

Edwardians bought the jewels as gifts for other people, as a matter of etiquette. They couldn’t give something that seemingly bought favour, it had to be fun and exciting.

Peter-Carl-Faberge loaned from Moscow

British Royal Family

The British Royal family showered in gifts thanks to its Russian relatives who had an appetite for such extravagance, they too were Faberge loyal customers. Henry Bainbridge who was the shop’s first manager described the coming of Faberge,

Like a comet through the black firmament of over-seriousness everywhere and with such unmistakable brilliance.

Like the inventors of today, Elon Musk. Faberge was historically the pinnacle of luxury, says the curator of the exhibition for the V&A’s dazzling new show celebrating the master goldsmith.

As Faberge himself once said,

Expensive things interest me little is the value is merely in so many diamonds or pearls.

Not even Prince Harry and Meghan Markle could afford to buy a Faberge item with their Netflix deal of 100 million dollars.

Modern Popular Culture

I have seen it manifest in modern popular cultures such as Octopussy, and James Bond. To the Faberge heist in an episode of The Simpsons and Ocean’s Twelve with Julia Roberts and George Clooney. At the V&A on display is the most resplendent eggs, including the golden Romanov Tercentenary Egg made with diamonds, turquoise and coloured glass, featuring watercolour portraits of the family on ivory. Also on display is the green garlanded nephrite Alexander Palace Egg, which opens to reveal a replica of the royal Tsarskoye Selo residence.

Mosaic Peter Carl Faberge

French Bulldog

Another collection Peter Carl Faberge created was the French bulldog carved from agate, a guilloche-enamelled cigarette case that is encrusted with a diamond snake. There is also the Imperial tiara made from brilliant-cut diamond arrows with pear-shaped aquamarines.

Melting Ice Crystal Pendant

Alma Pihl, is a visionary young woman who thrived in an industry dominated by men. At the mere age of 24 was commissioned to make the 1913 Imperial Winter Egg. Which is an engraved Siberian rock-crystal shell frosted with diamonds, through which glimpses of white wood anemones can be seen inside. It represents the promise  of spring and to use Faurby’s words,

gives a poetry to the harshness of the Russian winter.


How Expensive Is A Faberge Accessory

Herein lies the enduring appeal of these jewels though they are highly precious and astonishingly expensive, the value transcends the cost of the materials, with some of their most delightful designs made from modest papier mache and generic stones.

These whisky and wit pieces continue to charm, allure and solidify the world of success and luxury rarity, Which is very hard to qualify in the world of saturated luxury for 2023.

Faurby refers to one of Bainbridge’s anecdotes that proves the point. A prince went to the London shop, almost in tears. Because the tried to give Edward VII a drawing of the crown’s champion racehorse Persimmon. In response the King told him to give it to the museum, saying

If you really want to give me something special, go to Faberge and get a hippopotamus lighter.