|Photo: Liechtensteinisches Landesmuseum|
In our Luxarazzi 101 series we - admittedly rather rarely - like to branch out to topics not strictly Grand Ducal or Princely but instead in some interesting relation to Luxembourg or Liechtenstein and today is one of those days because there's hardly anything that says
Princely Grand Ducal Royal Imperial Easter more than a Fabergé egg. Admittedly though, this one isn't one of the famous imperial eggs, however, it is still beautiful and sparkly, I like beautiful and sparkly things, and I hope you do too: Happy Easter everyone!
The very first Fabergé egg was crafted in 1885 for Tsar Alexander III of Russia, who had wanted to give his wife, Empress Maria Fedorovna, a special gift for Easter. After seeing the delight of the Empress after receiving the egg, the Tsar decided to commission another egg for the following year from the company of the famous jeweller Peter Carl Fabergé and thus a tradition was born. After Tsar Alexander III's death, his son Tsar Nicholas II continued the tradition by giving eggs to both his widowed mother and his own wife. Until the end of the Russian empire, the imperial collection thus grew to contain 50 eggs, each of them including a little surprise.
Fabergé's eggs, however, weren't only popular with the Romanov family but also with Russian industrialist Alexander Kelch, who commissioned the jeweller to make seven eggs for his wife Varvara Kelch-Bazanova. One of these eggs, the Apple Blossom Egg, is today owned by the state of Liechtenstein.
Also known as the Jade Chest Egg, the Apple Blossom Egg was made in 1901 in St. Petersburg of nephrite, green and red gold, silver diamonds, matt pink and white enamel as well as velvet lining. The nephrite is used for the egg's shell which is adorned by golden twisted branches. Made out of red and green gold, the branches feature spreading and interlacing twigs with knots, veins and patches of moss as well as golden leaves. The egg's most striking feature are the blossoms, which are made out of pink foiled rose cut diamonds mounted in silver and surrounded by pink and white enamel panels. Unfortunately, the egg's surprise is lost. Measuring 11.5 centimetres in height and 14 centimetres in length, the Apple Blossom Egg is one of the largest Fabergé eggs ever made and has, in the past, even been mistaken for an imperial egg. Even though it is not an imperial one, the egg is still rumoured to be worth 30 million pounds.
How such an egg came into the possession of the Liechtenstein state? In November 1996, Liechtenstein art collector Adulf Peter Goop purchased the egg at a Sotheby's auction after it had gone through a number of different hands after the end of the Russian empire. In June 2010 about a year prior to his death, Goop left his art collection containing some 4000 pieces of art to the Liechtenstein state. Among the collection were around 2300 Easter eggs from all over the world, including Fabergé's Apple Blossom Egg, which is currently exhibited at Harrod's in London. Once the London exhibition is over, the egg will return to the Liechtensteinisches Landesmuseum in Vaduz where it is part of a permanent exhibition.