THE HOUSE OF ‘FABERGE
The name Faberge has always instilled ideals of beauty & historical interest in our minds.Faberge is synonymous with style and design. Most relate the name Faberge with the ‘Imperial Eater Eggs’, but most do not realise that the House of Faberge is also famous for its Jewellery, Flower Studies, Hardstone Carvings & Objects of Function.
Gustav Fabergé and his wife Charlotte Jungshtedt
In 1842, Gustav Faberge opened his own retail jewelery store, “Fabergé”, in a basement shop in the capital’s fashionable Bolshaia Morskaia. The addition of the accent may have been an attempt to give the name a more explicitly French character, appealing to the Russian nobility’s. French was the language of the Russian Court and the urban nobility, and closely associated with luxury goods. Later in that year, Gustav married Charlotte Jungstedt, the daughter of Carl Jungstedt, an artist of Danish origin. In 1846, the couple had a son, Peter Carl Fabergé, popularly known as Carl Fabergé.
Carl studied in Germany, Italy & France before returning to St Petersburg in 1870 to take over his father’s goldsmith firm. By 1883 the name ‘The House Of Faberge’ appeared for the first time in an Art & Industrial Exhibition in Moscow, winning a gold medal.
In 1885 Faberge was rewarded with an appointment as Jeweller to the Imperial Court and given the right to have the Imperial Eagle incorporated into the firm’s trademark.
In the same year, at the request of Tsar Alexander III an Easter Egg was made for Empress Marie Feodorovna. It was the first of a series of 54 lavishly decorated Easter presents which followed until 1916.
By 1907 Faberge was ranked amongst the best and most famous jewellers in the world. At this time he had many branches around the world with over 500 workers and designers.
Due to W.W.I & the Civil War, The House Of Faberge closed in 1918. Carl Faberge died in 1920 and these events brought the end to the ‘Faberge era’.
Two of his four sons (who had all been trained in the business), made the effort to build up a new business under the families name. In 1924 the firm ‘Faberge & Cie’ was registered in Paris. The objects they produced however, although most of them were signed Faberge, were only a dull & remote echo of the originals created in Russia.
It was not merely that the perfectionism which Carl Faberge had been able to maintain so consistently had disappeared; the clientele, the potential market, was taken up by established firms such as Cartier who were producing jewellery & objects in the new art deco style.
Although Faberge has changed hands several times; it still exists in Paris as an establishment specialising in modern jewellery.
Before W.W.II collectors had been able to acquire items by Faberge which were sold by the Soviet Government either directly or through Art Dealers. When the Soviet Government sales stopped after 1945 Faberge objects became extremely rare. Prices started to rise, and copies and fakes poured on to the market. It is often difficult to decide whether an item is original, since many of the fakes are of high quality
Faberge’s work has always aroused delight and fascination. But Faberge has also been regarded as the jeweller of a decadent, autocratic regime, the creator of luxuries that are vain symbols of princely magnificence
Today he is seen in a different light, a light cast by further studies in the fields of history and of artistic influence. His place in history is that of an exceptionally creative artist-jeweller with outstanding entrepreneurial skill.
One surprising fact about Faberge’s work is that no design or even finished works from his own hand is known to exist. Our knowledge of what constitutes the Faberge style can be based only on the production of the Faberge workshops. Although we do not know of designs by Faberge or objects made with his own hands, there can be no doubt that he was strongly involved in the creation of his objects.
Faberge is known for his many styles and designs, which include;
*Imperial Easter Egg
Only 47 of the known 54 eggs are known to exist.
These remaining eggs are in fact recorded lost.Each egg had a ‘surprise’ that was concealed inside.
*Jewellery– Many different types of jewellery were made, but he reintroduced colour to jewellery with precious stones & enamel.
*Flower Studies– These are amongst the most beautiful, the most delicate & the rarest of Faberge’s creations. Their leaves made of Nephrite and their flowers made of pearls tipped with rose cut Diamonds, grown on gold stems in golden moss set in a gold wickerwork basket.
*Hard Stone Carvings– He specialised in producing small hard stone models including animals, figurines, pillboxes & others.
Faberge jeweled rock crystal, enamel and gold antique parasol handle
*Objects of Function– Increasing from the late 1880’s and onwards the Faberge workshops produced items which also had practical use e.g., pen holders, photograph frames, table lighters, ash trays, cigarette cases & clocks.
Faberge World War I tobacco box
WAR 1914 – 1915