Carl Fabergé Biography
One of the most renowned and celebrated jewelers in history, Peter Carl Fabergé made jewelry and objects marked by exquisite craftsmanship, beauty, and luxury. Born in St. Petersburg, Russia, in 1846 to the jeweler Gustav Fabergé, the Fabergé family eventually relocated to Dresden, Germany. Carl (as he was later called) studied jewelry throughout Europe before returning to St. Petersburg at the age of 26 to study under Hiskias Pendin at the House of Fabergé; after Pendin’s death in 1882, Fabergé was named Master Jeweler, and continued on to take over the family business.
The same year as Fabergé was promoted to Master Jeweler, he exhibited a gold bracelet replica indistinguishable from the 4th century BC it was made after at the Pan-Russian exhibition in Moscow. This caught the attention of the Tsar, and solidified the House’s place among the most elite jewelers of the time. In 1885, the Tsar commissioned Fabergé to produce his first “egg”, a stylistic form that has now become synonymous with both the House of Fabergé and great luxury. The Tsar was so impressed that every year thereafter at least one new egg was commissioned, ultimately leading Fabergé to be named the official imperial jeweler of the Tsar. Each individual egg took approximately a year to make, and were always made of lavish materials such as gold, diamonds, and rubies. Records show that seventy-one of these eggs were made, however only sixty-two are known to be extant. The most expensive of these was called the Rothschild Egg, which sold at auction for £8.9 million in 2007.
Following World War I and the Bolshevik Revolution, the House of Fabergé was nationalized in 1917, and the Bolshevik Government repossessed all of its wealth. As a result of the political and social upheaval, the Fabergé family fled Russia to Switzerland in 1920, where Carl Fabergé died that same year.