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Peter the Great Fabergé Egg

Peter the Great Fabergé Egg

Peter the Great Fabergé Egg

The Peter the Great Egg is a jeweled Fabergé Easter egg made by the Russian jeweler Peter Carl Fabergé in 1903 for the last Tsar of Russia, Nicholas II. This jeweled Fabergé Easter celebrated the two-hundredth anniversary of the founding of St. Petersburg in 1703.

Created in gold and set with diamonds and rubies, the body of the egg is covered in laurel leaves and bulrushes. The chased green gold symbolizes the source of the “living waters” of Neva River, where Saint Petersburg was founded. The white enamel ribbons are inscribed with historical details. The top of the egg is an enameled wreath which encircles Nicholas II’s monogram. The bottom of the egg is adorned with the double-headed imperial eagle, made of black enamel and crowned with diamonds.

The eggshell features four miniature watercolors painted by B. Byalz. One of the paintings represents St. Petersburg in 1703 and the other St. Petersburg in 1903. The front painting features the Winter Palace, and on the back of the egg, is a painting of the Log Cabin believed to be built by Peter the Great, representing the founding of St. Petersburg. On the other painted sides of the egg are portraits of Peter the Great in 1703 and Nicholas II in 1903. The dates 1703 and 1903, worked in diamonds, appear on either side above the paintings of the log cabin and Winter Palace.

Below the “Winter Palace” painting is fluttering enamel ribbon with inscriptions in black Cyrillic letters:

“The Winter Palace of His Imperial Majesty in 1903.”

Below the “Log Cabin” painting the enamel ribbon has a similar inscription with the  words Cyrillic:

“The first little house of Emperor Peter in 1703.”

Fabergé Egg Surprise

This Fabergé Easter egg was a present from Tsar Nicholas to his wife, the Czarina Alexandra Fyodorovna. Most Fabergé Eggs for the Royal Family each contained a surprise that was unique to that egg. The surprise in this egg was that when the egg is opened, a mechanism within raises a miniature gold model of Peter the Great’s monument on the Neva, resting on a base of sapphire.

A 19th-century legend states that while the Bronze Horseman stands in the middle of Saint Petersburg, enemy forces will not be able to conquer the city.

The Bronze Horseman

The equestrian statue of Peter the Great in the Senate Square in Saint Petersburg, Russia, was commissioned by Catherine the Great. The name “The Bronze Horseman” comes from an 1833 poem of the same name by Aleksander Pushkin, which is widely considered one of the most significant works of Russian literature. The statue is now one of the symbols of Saint Petersburg.

The story of a legend from the 19th century claimed that enemy forces would never take St. Petersburg while the “Bronze Horseman” stands in the middle of the city. During the 900-day Siege of Leningrad by the invading Germans during the Second World War, the statue was covered with sandbags and a wooden shelter. The soviets protected this statue during the 900 days of bombing and artillery of Leningrad. True to the legend, Leningrad was never taken. Leningrad was the city’s name from 1924 – 1991. After 1991 the name of the city reverted back to Saint Petersburg.

The statue’s pedestal is the enormous Thunder Stone, the most massive stone ever moved by human power. The stone originally weighed about 1500 tonnes but was carved down during transportation to its current size.

Saint Petersburg

Saint Petersburg, formerly and still commonly known as Leningrad, is situated on the Neva River. It is Russia’s second-largest city after Moscow and an important Russian port on the Baltic Sea. The city was founded by Tsar Peter the Great in 1703, on the site of a captured Swedish fortress. It served as a capital of Russian Tsardom and the subsequent Russian Empire from 1713 to 1918. After the October Revolution, the Bolsheviks moved their government to Moscow.

In modern times, Saint Petersburg is home to many federal government bodies such as the Constitutional Court of Russia and the Heraldic Council of the President of the Russian Federation. Saint Petersburg is also home to  The Hermitage, one of the largest art museums in the world.

Peter Carl Fabergé

Peter Carl Fabergé (1846 – 1920), was a Russian jeweler best known for the famous Fabergé eggs made in the style of Easter eggs but using precious metals and gemstones. As many as 69 were created, of which 57 survive today. Virtually all were manufactured under the supervision of Peter Carl Fabergé.

The most famous Fabergé Eggs are the “Imperial” eggs, 46 of which survive, made for the Russian Tsars Alexander III and Nicholas II as Easter gifts for their wives and mothers.

Peter the Great Fabergé Egg

  • Title:                  Peter the Great Fabergé Egg
  • Workmaster:      Michael Perkhin
  • Supervisor:        Peter Carl Fabergé.
  • Created:            1903
  • Medium:            Gold, diamond, platinum, rock crystal, enamel
  • Dimensions:       4​1⁄4 by 3​1⁄8 (diameter) inches.; Height 11.1 cm
  • Museum:            Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

Peter Carl Fabergé

  • Name:             Peter Carl Fabergé
  • Also:                Karl Gustavovich Fabergé
  • Born:               1846 – Saint Petersburg, Russia
  • Died:               1920 – Lausanne, Switzerland
  • Nationality:      Russian

Highlights of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

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“Expensive things interest me little if the value is merely in so many diamonds and pearls.”
– Peter Carl Fabergé

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Photo Credit 1) The original uploader was Sotakeit at English Wikipedia. / Copyrighted free use