The Karelian Birch egg, also known as Karelian Birch or the Birch Egg, is one of a series of fifty-two jewelled Easter eggs made under the supervision of Peter Carl Fabergé in 1917 for the last Tsar of Russia Nicholas II. It was the second to last Fabergé egg made, before Constellation. The Karelian Birch egg was considered lost until 2001, when a private collector in whose possession it had been since 1927 donated it to the State Historical Museum in Moscow.
The egg is made out of Karelian Birch panels set in a gold frame. This departure in design from previous eggs, which were far more ornate and gilded, was due to popular discontent with the monarchy and declining fortunes as a result of World War I. Its "surprise" was a miniature mechanical elephant, which could be wound with a small jewel-encrusted key.
The Birch Egg was crafted in 1917 and was due to be presented by Nicholas to the Empress that Easter. Before the egg was delivered however, the February Revolution took place and Nicholas II was forced to abdicate on March 15. On April 25, Fabergé sent the Tsar an invoice for the egg, adressing Nicholas II as not as "Tsar of all the Russias" but as "Mr. Romanov Nikolai Aleksandrovich". Nicholas paid 12,500 rubles and the egg was sent to Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich at his palace for presentation to the Empress, but the Duke fled before it arrived. The egg remained in the palace until it was looted in the wake of the October Revolution later that year.
After the October Revolution the egg was acquired by the Rumyantsev Museum in Moscow. It disappeared once again after the museum closed in January 1927 and was presumed lost. In 1999 Fabergé's great-granddaughter Tatiana published drawings of the designs for the Birch and Constellation Eggs, but it was assumed that they were both incomplete. The Birch Egg publicly reappeared in 2001 when a private collector from the United Kingdom, the descendant of Russian emigrates, donated it to the State Historical Museum. The complete donation, which cost the museum "millions of dollars", consisted of the egg itself, the case, the wind-up key for the surprise, Fabergé's original invoice to Nicholas II, and a letter from Fabergé to Alexander Kerensky complaining about not being paid and asking that the egg be delivered. The "surprise" itself was not in the collector's possession and was likely stolen by soldiers during the October Revolution. It remains on display at the museum to this day.
The Napoleonic Egg, sometimes referred to as the Imperial Napoleonic Egg, is one of a series of fifty-two jewelled eggs made under the supervision of Peter Carl Fabergé. It was created in 1912 for the last Tsar of Russia Nicholas II as a gift to his mother the Dowager Empress Maria Fyodorovna. The egg currently resides in the New Orleans Museum of Art.
The egg's design commemorates the centenary of the Battle of Borodino during Napoleon's 1812 invasion of Russia. The Napoleonic Egg is one of only two Imperial Eggs of which the design drawings have been found, the other being the 1907 Standart Yacht egg.
The egg is crafted out of yellow gold, with emerald panels, rubies and diamonds on its exterior. The interior of the egg is lined with satin and velvet. The egg still has its "surprise", a six-panel miniature screen depicting in watercolor six regiments of which Maria Fyodorovna was an honorary colonel. Each panel has on its reverse side the royal monogram of the Dowager Empress. The screen itself is made from translucent green emeralds, rose-cut diamonds and white enamel. The hinges of the screen are ax-topped fasces.
The Napoleonic Egg was given to the Dowager Empress by Nicholas II in 1912. The egg was seized by the post-Russian Revolution governments and was sold in 1930 along with ten other eggs to the Hammer Galleries in New York City. It was sold to a private collector in 1937, where it remained until it was sold in 1951 to Matilda Gray. After her death in 1971 the egg passed to the Matilda Geddings Gray Foundation, and in 1972 the egg began being displayed in the New Orleans Museum of Art where it remains to this day.
The Czarevich Egg is a Fabergé egg, one in a series of fifty-two jewelled eggs made under the supervision of Peter Carl Fabergé. It was created in 1912 for Empress Alexandra Fyodorovna as a tribute by Faberge of her son Alexei. The egg currently resides in the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.
The egg is about five and three-quarters inches tall on its stand, with a diameter of four inches. The outer shell is lapis lazuli, with Louis XV-style gold cagework in a floral design. Two large diamonds, one at top and one at bottom, are encrusted into the egg's surface, showing the initials of Czarina Alexandra Fyodorovna, the year (1912) and the Imperial crown. The "surprise" inside is a Russian double-headed imperial eagle with a miniature portrait of the Czarevich, set in platinum and encrusted with diamonds. The current portrait appears to be a replacement for the original, which was likely lost at some point.
Fabergé created the egg as a tribute to Crown Prince (Czarevich) Alexei. Unknown to all but the royal family, Alexei was expected to die of hemophilia and was at one point so close to death that the Russian Imperial Court had already drawn up his death certificate. When Alexei survived, Fabergé, who knew of the prince's health, created the egg for Alexei's mother Czarina Alexandra Fyodorovna as a tribute to the miracle of his survival.
- Mieks (2007-12-05). "1917 Birch Egg". Mieks Fabergé Eggs. Retrieved 2007-12-08. Check date values in:
- Farnham, Alan (2004-04-12), Egg Hunting, Pro Division, Forbes.com, retrieved 2007-12-08 Check date values in:
- Mieks (2007-09-09). "1912 Napoleonic Egg". Mieks Fabergé Eggs. Retrieved 2007-12-16. Check date values in:
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- Koymasky, Matt and Andrej. "Fabergé Napoleonic". Retrieved 2007-12-08. Cite error: Invalid
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- "Imperial Czarevich Easter Egg". Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Retrieved 2007-12-29.
- "Fabergé Eggs: Fragile Remembrances". PBS.org. Retrieved 2007-12-29.