Bay Tree (Fabergé egg)
|Bay Tree Fabergé egg|
|Customer||Tsar Nicholas II, as a gift for Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna|
|Individual or institution||The Link of Times Foundation, Russia|
|Year of acquisition||2004|
|Design and materials|
|Materials used||Gold, green and white enamel, nephrite, diamonds, rubies, amethysts, citrines, pearls and white onyx|
|Height||27.3 cm when closed, 30 cm when opened|
The Bay tree egg (also known as the Orange tree egg) is a jewelled carved nephrite and enameled Easter egg made under the supervision of the Russian jeweller Peter Carl Fabergé in 1911, for Nicholas II of Russia, who presented the egg to his mother, the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna on April 12, 1911.
Turning a tiny lever disguised as a fruit, hidden among the leaves of the bay tree, activates the hinged circular top of the tree and a feathered songbird rises and flaps its wings, turns its head, opens its beak and sings.
Based on an 18th-century French mechanical orange tree, it was incorrectly labeled as an orange tree for some time, but was confirmed as a bay tree after the original invoice from Fabergé was examined. Fabergé charged 12,800 rubles for the egg.
In 1917 the egg was confiscated by the Russian Provisional Government and moved from the Anichkov Palace to the Kremlin. It was sold to Emanuel Snowman of the jewellers Wartski around 1927. Passing through different owners, it was sold to Malcolm Forbes in 1965 for $35,000, equivalent to $212,634 at the time of the 2004 sale of the Forbes Collection to Viktor Vekselberg. Vekselberg purchased some nine Imperial eggs, as part of the collection, for almost $100 million