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Alexander III Equestrian Egg by Fabergé

Alexander III Equestrian Egg by Fabergé


Alexander III Equestrian Monument Egg Faberge 1910

Egg the Alexander III Equestrian Monument - is created by Faberge's jeweler house and planned as the gift of Emperor Nikolay II to empress Maria Fiodorovna for easter of 1910. Is in the Armory Museum of the Moscow Kremlin.

Stamp Firms - "К.FABERGE" (it is engraved in the italics).

Materials Gold, platinum, the diamonds faceted by a rose, rock crystal, lapis lazuli.

The sizes Height with a support - 61/8 inches (15,5 see), the basis - 41/2x41/2 inch (11,5x11,5 see) model height - 2 inches (5,0 see) length of model - 15/8 inches (4,0 see).

Technics of execution Molding, stamping, engraving, carving on a stone.

Origin Gift of emperor Nikolai II to empress Maria Feodorovna for Easter of 1910 Has arrived from Currency fund Narkomfina in 1927.

It is stored In the State museum of the Moscow Kremlin.

Egg from rock crystal consists of two parts. From above egg is decorated by an unprofitable platinum grid, covered with small diamonds, from two parties - platinum consoles, over which figures of heraldic two-headed eagles are placed. Above on egg large diamond through which date "1910" is visible is strengthened. The support represents four platinum winged semi figures, reinforced by a shaped crystal base. In egg the gold model of a monument to Alexander III on a high rectangular pedestal from a ljapis-azure is put. The model reproduces a monument of work of the sculptor of P.Trubetsky, erected on the Znamensky area of Petersburg about the Nikolaev station according to Nikolay II decree in memory of the father.

Pay attention, on their eggs established for a family of the Emperor Faberge, Colonnade Egg, created in honor of a birth at the emperor of the successor, or Napoleonic Egg devoted to century of a victory over Napoleon's army.


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Jewelled Easter egg made under the supervision of the Russian jeweller Peter Carl Fabergé in 1909 for Tsar Nicholas II of Russia. Presented by Nicolas II as an Easter gift to his wife, the Czarina Alexandra Fyodorovna. Wikipedia

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Alexander III Equestrian Egg by Fabergé - History

Unless you happen to be a Russian history buff, you probably don’t know much about Czar Alexander III. But if you’re a fan of Fabergé eggs, you have him (and Carl Fabergé, of course) to thank for them.

HOW EGGS-CITING

In 1885 the emperor, or czar, of Russia, Alexander III, placed an order with his jeweler for a decorative Easter egg for his wife, the czarina Marie Feodorovna. Alexander had given his wife jeweled Easter eggs before: Easter was the most important holiday on the Russian Orthodox calendar, and eggs were traditionally given as gifts. But this year’s egg would be different, because Alexander placed his order with a new jeweler: 38-year-old Carl Fabergé.

Fabergé differed from other jewelers who served the Imperial court in that he was more interested in clever design and exquisite craftsmanship than in merely festooning his creations with gold and precious gems (though his eggs would have plenty of those) without showing much imagination. “Expensive things interest me little if the value is merely in so many diamonds and pearls,” he said.

That first Imperial Easter egg was very plain indeed, but only on the surface: known today simply as the 1885 Hen Egg, it was 2½ inches long and made of gold but had a plain white enamel shell to give it the appearance of an ordinary duck egg. When the two halves of the egg were pulled apart, they revealed a golden yolk that in turn opened to reveal a golden hen “surprise” sitting on a nest of golden straw. The hen was hinged at its tail feathers and split open to reveal a small golden replica of the Imperial crown hanging from the crown was a tiny ruby pendant that Marie Feodorovna could wear around her neck on a gold chain that came with the egg.

Marie Feodorovna loved the egg, and for the rest of his life, Czar Alexander bought all of her Easter eggs from Fabergé. Alexander gave the jeweler great latitude in designing the eggs and set only three requirements: 1) the eggs had to be egg-shaped 2) they had to contain a surprise and 3) Fabergé’s designs could not repeat themselves. Those three requirements aside, Fabergé was free to do whatever he wanted. The jeweler made a point of not revealing anything to Alexander about each egg until he delivered it a few days before Easter so that the czar could enjoy the suspense as well. “Your Majesty will be content,” was all he’d say.

BY THE DOZEN

Not much is known about the second egg, Hen with Sapphire Pendant, which Fabergé made for 1886 it disappeared in 1922. For his third egg, in 1887 Fabergé made a golden egg not much larger than a hen’s egg. It sat on a gold pedestal with three lion’s paw feet. Pressing a diamond on the front of the egg caused its lid to pop open, revealing a ladies’ watch face inside. The watch was mounted on a hinge and could be tilted upright, allowing the egg to be used as a clock. (More on this egg, which was missing for 90 years, in an article next week.)

In the years that followed, the eggs produced in Fabergé’s workshop became larger and more elaborate as teams of craftsmen worked the entire year, sometimes longer, to complete the eggs. The Danish Palaces Egg for 1890 contained a folding screen comprising 10 miniature paintings of the palaces and royal yachts that Marie Feodorovna, a Danish princess, remembered from her childhood. The 1891 Memory of Azov Egg contained a gold and platinum model of an Imperial Navy ship of the same name, which had taken the future czar Nicholas II and his brother George on a tour of the Far East in 1890. The egg was carved from solid bloodstone (green quartz speckled with red), and the model inside was an exact replica of the Memory of Azov and floated on a blue sea of aquamarine. The ship was accurate down to its diamond portholes, movable deck guns, and tiny gold anchor chain.

TWO OF A KIND

If Fabergé feared losing his best customer when Alexander III died in 1894 at the age of 49, he needn’t have worried. When Alexander’s son Nicholas II came to the throne in November 1894, he doubled the order to two eggs each year: one for his mother, Marie Feodorovna, and one for his wife, the czarina Alexandra. He bought them every year except 1904 and 1905, when the purchases were suspended during the Russo-Japanese War.

Nicholas didn’t let the outbreak of World War I in 1914 stop him from buying Easter eggs, though the wartime eggs were more modest and subdued in design. Both eggs for 1915, for example, had Red Cross themes. He bought two each year until he was forced to abdicate his throne during the Russian Revolution of 1917. By then Fabergé’s workshop had produced 50 Easter eggs for the two czarinas (plus another 15 for other wealthy customers, including England’s Duchess of Marlborough and the Rothschild banking family).

Czarina Marie Feodorovna managed to escape to England, but Nicholas, Alexandra, and their children were not as lucky. They were executed by revolutionaries in the summer of 1918. Carl Fabergé escaped to Switzerland, where he died in 1920. In the chaos of the revolution and the civil war that followed, the royal palaces were ransacked, and any property not looted by mobs was seized by the provisional government and, when it fell, by the Bolsheviks led by Vladimir Lenin. The Fabergé eggs disappeared in the turmoil, some of them never to be seen again.

In 1922 about 40 of the eggs were rediscovered in a government warehouse in Moscow. At the time the government of what had become the Soviet Union needed to raise foreign currency, and over the next decade, all but 10 of the eggs were sold abroad.

Considering how much Fabergé eggs sell for today, it’s remarkable how little they fetched when they first hit the market. But in an age when people like Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse were stirring up artistic revolutions of their own, the eggs were seen as gaudy, old-fashioned, and vulgar. Museums and most “serious” collectors weren’t interested in them, and for this reason, the earliest buyers were able to snap them up for very little money—in some cases paying only a fraction of what it had cost Fabergé to make them in the first place.

Alexander Schaffer, an American dealer of prerevolutionary Russian artwork, bought the 1903 Peter the Great Egg (a gift from Nicholas II to his wife, Alexandra) from the U.S. Customs Service for about $1,000 ($13,500 today), after the original buyer balked at having to pay import duties. Other dealers thought Schaffer was nuts to pay even that much. In 1930 American businessman Armand Hammer bought 10 eggs for prices ranging from $240 ($3,200) for the 1915 Red Cross Egg to $3,900 ($53,000) for the 1912 Czarevich Egg, both gifts from Nicholas II to Alexandra.

EGG-CEPTIONAL COLLECTIONS

If Hammer hoped to sell his eggs for a quick profit, he was soon disappointed. It took him more than a decade to sell them all, though he did make a bundle. He, Schaffer, and other dealers unloaded their wares on nouveau riche collectors with more money than taste—people like Lillian Thomas Pratt, the wife of a General Motors executive, who bought the first of five Fabergé eggs in 1933. She probably would have bought even more than that had her husband not threatened Armand Hammer with a lawsuit if he sold her any more.

The Post breakfast cereal heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post bought two Fabergé eggs: the 1896 Alexander III Portraits Egg and the 1914 Catherine the Great Egg, both of which were gifts from Nicholas II to his mother. In the 1950s, the Swingline stapler tycoons, Jack and Belle Linsky, amassed a huge collection of Fabergé objects that included the 1893 Caucasus Egg and the 1894 Renaissance Egg, both gifts from Czar Alexander III to his wife, Marie Feodorovna. But when the Linskys showed their prized collection to the director of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, he dismissed the objects as “turn of the century trinkets” and suggested that the couple direct their energy toward “more serious collecting.” The Linskys took his advice and sold every piece of Fabergé they owned.

I AM THE EGG MAN

That the Linskys and other early collectors would come to regret selling their Fabergé eggs too soon and for too little money was due almost entirely to the buying habits of one man: Forbes magazine publisher Malcolm Forbes. He bought his first Fabergé egg, the 1902 Pink Serpent Clock Egg, in 1965. (The egg, then thought to have been one of the Russian Imperial eggs, is now understood to have been commissioned by the Duchess of Marlborough, Consuelo Vanderbilt.) Forbes paid $50,000 for the egg, triple the preauction estimate and a record for a Fabergé egg. He bought his second egg, the 1894 Renaissance Egg, later that same afternoon. In the 15 years that followed, just about every time a Fabergé egg came up for sale, Forbes paid whatever was necessary to add it to his collection. By 1985 he’d pushed the price to nearly $2 million per egg, when he paid $1.7 million for the 1900 Cuckoo Clock Egg.

In February 1990, Forbes died from a heart attack at the age of 70. By then he’d acquired nine Russian Imperial eggs plus three eggs that Fabergé made for other wealthy clients, along with another 180 smaller objects produced in Fabergé’s workshop. The publisher’s death raised an interesting question: Would the eggs hold their value now that he wasn’t there to outbid every other buyer?

In 1992 Forbes’s children passed on the chance to add a tenth Russian Imperial egg to the family collection when the 1907 Love Trophies Egg came up for auction and they didn’t even bid on it. The egg sold for $3.2 million anyway. When the 1913 Winter Egg came up for auction in 1996, they passed again. It sold for $5.6 million…and then for $9.6 million when the new owner put it up for auction in 2002. When the Forbes children decided to auction off their father’s Fabergé collection at Sotheby’s in 2004, a Russian billionaire named Victor Vekselberg swooped in before the auction could be held and bought the entire collection for an undisclosed price estimated to be well over $100 million, pushing the price per egg to around $10 million. Could the value possibly go any higher? Of course. When a Fabergé egg made for the Rothschild banking family went up for auction in 2007, it sold for $18.5 million.

EGG-STRAORDINARY

As of 2015, 43 of the 50 Russian Imperial Easter eggs have been found the other seven are missing. Some may be casualties of either the Russian Revolution, the civil war that followed, or World War II. But others are almost certainly out there. The Third Imperial Egg of 1887, for example, only surfaced in 2004, when a scrap dealer in the American Midwest bought it at an antique sale. Nearly a decade passed before he even realized what it was. More on this next week.

This article is reprinted with permission from Uncle John’s Factastic Bathroom Reader. All of Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader favorites are packed into these 512 glorious pages – from little-known history to the origins of everyday things—plus odd news, weird fads, quirky quotes, mind-bending science, head-scratching blunders, and all sorts of random oddities. Oh yeah, and thousands of incredible facts!

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Maria Feodorovna

At Easter of 1910, the Dowager Empress Maria Fedorovna received an egg containing a miniature replica of a monument to Alexander III. The choice of the model for the surprise was well justified. Faberge’s Easter masterworks were often made in response to a significant event in the life of the Empire and the Imperial family, which included the erection in 1909 of the first monument in St. Petersburg to the “Peacemaker Tsar.” Carl Faberge always strove to impress and awe members of the Imperial family with his creations: he listened to their suggestions, submitted his designs for their approval and explained the finer points of a project. In the massive structure Faberge could see the potential for a graceful miniature statuette, buttressed by a lofty pediment of lapis lazuli with a shimmering band of small diamonds.

From an entry in a Faberge account book: “Large Egg from carved topaz in a heavy platinum frame in the Renaissance style on a pedestal made of the same, 1,318 rose-cut diamonds and 1 large diamond. Inside, on a pedestal of lapis lazuli, the Emperor Alexander III on a horse of matte gold.”

The pedestal of lapis lazuli was carved at the Peterhof Stonecutting Factory, for which special permission had to be secured from the Minister of the Imperial Court, since the factory was not authorized to accept private commissions. Quadrangular herms, tapered toward the bottom, are affixed at either side of the Egg, terminating in two-headed eagles. The upper part of the egg with its diamond lattice is reminiscent of a shining cupola over the Emperor’s statue.

The setting of the Egg is made of platinum: Faberge had been among the first to recognize this metal’s decorative potential. At that time, it was a relatively new material in the jeweler’s art: items made of platinum bore no makers’ marks and were not subject to assay control. The metal proved indispensable for jewelry. In the 1910s Faberge sold numerous pieces made of platinum or platinum alloys, decorated with diamonds.

As it happens, for many years Faberge’s miniature statuette was the only way to access Paolo Troubetzkoys’s original creation, as the monument, which stood before the Nikolaev (now Moscow) Station was removed in the Soviet times. These days it can once again be seen, standing outside the entrance to the Marble Palace.


Maria Feodorovna

This 1909 Imperial Easter egg made for the Dowager Empress Maria Fedorovna is one of six missing Faberge eggs. The original invoice for the Egg survives in the Russian State Historical Archive: “Egg in matte white enamel with gold bands, decorated with 2 brilliant diamonds and 3,767 rose-cut diamonds. Inside a gold bust of the Emperor Alexander III on a pedestal of lapis lazuli, applied with rose-cut diamonds.”

The egg is known from an archival image of the egg in the possession of Tatyana Fabergé. There are several other known examples of busts of Alexander III from the house of Fabergé, which give us an idea of what the surprise may have looked like.


In the 19th Century, Easter was one of the most important dates in the Orthodox Christian Calendar. To celebrate Easter, tsar Alexander III started a tradition that turned into one of the most precious and luxurious collections in the world. He ordered an Easter surprise from Carl Peter Faberge for his wife. The surprise was a golden egg. Once the tsarina received the gift, she was so impressed, that Alexander III decided to order an egg with a surprise for every next Easter. And that is how the Faberge eggs were crafted. There were 54 eggs crafted in total, each unique and special in its own way. Of those 54, seven are considered lost as their trace is lost. Most of the eggs are still in Russia.

Bouquet of Lilies Clock Egg

Made under the supervision of Peter Carl Faberge in 1899, this egg is one of the largest Faberge eggs in history. It was made for Tsar Nicholas II, who gave the egg as an Easter gift to his wife, Alexandra Fyodorovna. At the moment, the egg is safely kept in the Kremlin Armoury Museum in Moscow. The Bouquet of Lilies Clock Egg is one of the rare and few that never left Russia.

The egg shaped clock has a rectangular pedestal design, and the egg is decorated with translucent enamel. The clock’s body is divided into 12 different parts, all of which are outlined with diamond stripes. Everything about this egg is covered with diamonds, including the belt of the dial. Enameled with 12 Roman Numerals in diamonds, the hours on the clock are indicated by a diamond clock. The base of the egg is decorated with rosettes. On the base, the date of the manufacture is set in diamonds. The Madonna lilies serve as the crown of the clock and they are carved from onyx. All the flowers on the egg are carefully placed, and they symbolize purity and innocence (lilies), and eternal love (roses).

Alexander III Commemorative

One of the six lost Faberge eggs, the Alexander III Commemorative was made in 1909 for Nicholas II of Russia. He presented the egg to his mother, the empress Maria Feodorovna. The egg is made as a commemorative for the tsar Alexander III of Russia. He died fifteen years before the egg was made, and this egg is just one of the four made to commemorate Alexander. The other eggs are the Alexander III Portraits, Empire Nephrite and Alexander III Equestrian.

The surprise in the egg was a miniature gold bust. The egg is just two of the lost eggs for which there is a photograph and one of the seven Imperial eggs that are missing.

Empire Nephrite

Another egg made as a commemorate for Alexander III of Russia. It was an Easter Egg, jeweled under the supervision of Carl Faberge in 1902. Nicholas II was the recipient of the egg, and he later presented it to his mother, the Dowager Empress named Maria Feodorovna.

The egg was made from nephrite, one of the two mineral species that derivate from jade. Nephrite is the more common jade, and it usually comes in gray and green color, and occasionally in brown, white or yellow. Nephrite is an ornamental stone. The Empire Nephrite egg was manufactured in Empire Style. According to rumors and reports, the egg had a golden base. The decoration of the egg was in diamonds and there was a medallion portrait of Alexander. The Empire Nephrite egg is lost, and there are no photographs and images that can prove the authenticity of the egg.

This is the first of 54 jeweled eggs that Peter Carl Faberge made for the Russian Imperial Family. Tsar Alexander III ordered the egg in 1885 for his wife. The egg is also known as the Jeweled Hen Egg and started a long tradition that lasted for years. Impressed by the egg, the tsar ordered a new for the tsarina every Easter the following years. This egg is part of the Vekselberg Collection and is safely kept in the Faberge Museum in Saint Petersburg.

Fun fact is that Faberge did not make this egg. Instead, one of his workers was responsible for the craftsmanship. Erik Kollin is the name of the crafter who made the egg completely of gold coating with opaque white enamel in order for the egg to look like a real egg. There is a thin band of gold at the spot where the two halves of the egg shell are joined.

Once the two halves are open, they reveal a gold yolk made with a matte finish. The surprise contains a gold hen with ruby eyes. There were two additional surprises hidden into the hen, but they are currently missing.

The Mauve egg contains one of the best and most personal surprises from all 54 Faberge eggs made for the Imperial Family. The surprise is a heart shaped photo frame and contains three miniature portraits of Alexandra Fyodorovna, the then tsar Nicholas II and their first child, Olga Nikolaevna. The miniature portraits are made out of rose-cut diamonds, with green, strawberry red and white enamel. The portraits also contained pearls.

The Mauve was made for Nicholas in 1898. He presented the egg to his mother. The cost of the egg is believed to was 3,250 rubles back in the day. The Mauve is one of the seven lost eggs.

Royal Danish

The Royal Danish is another lost egg, one of the two of the lost eggs for which there is a photograph. It is one of the largest eggs made by Peter Carl Faberge. The height of the egg is 229mm, at the top of which there is a crown with the Order of the Elephant, the symbol of ancient Denmark.

The egg was made for Empress Maria Feodorovna, who was born in Denmark. She returned in 1903 to Denmark for the 40th anniversary of the accession to the throne of her father. She ordered the egg as a gift for her father and a commemoration of the event.

The surprise in the egg is a miniature portrait of Christian IX of Denmark and his wife.

Cherub with Chariot Egg

Also known as the Angel with Egg in Chariot, this egg was crafted in 1888 to Alexander III of Russia. There are little known details linked with this egg, as it is one of the seven lost imperial eggs. Even the design is unsure, as there is just one single photograph of the eggs, and even on that photo, the Cherub is hidden behind another eggs. The best information about the egg is the description in the Historical Archives, in which the egg is described as "Angel pulling chariot with egg – 1500 roubles , angel with a clock in a gold egg 600 roubles. Many believe the description actually means that the clock is inside the egg. The official description by Faberge also points to a cherub pulling a chariot.

The egg was presented to Maria Feodorovna in 1888 and was later sent to the Armory Palace of the Kremin in 1917. In 1922, the Cherub with Chariot egg was transferred to Sovnarkom, and that is where the trace is lost.


The Unexpected History of Easter Eggs

Have you ever wondered about the history of the Easter Egg? Ever mused about what’s really behind our present-day tradition of giving chocolate eggs as gifts on Easter Sunday, a practice that has been so enthusiastically embraced as a commercialized ritual, along with its bedfellows the Easter egg hunt and the Easter bunny? An estimated whopping 80 million chocolate eggs are sold each year in the UK alone! Perhaps less well-known are the customs of egg-rolling, pace-egging and egg-tapping (the last mentioned is basically a version of conkers, but with eggs!). But what is the history behind this current chocomania, which annually assaults both waistlines and teeth?

Symbolism and Praticality

Early depiction of crucifixion & resurrection of Jesus (Rabbula Gospel 6th cent)

The egg itself has for centuries been one of the most important and adaptable symbols in myths and rituals across Europe and Asia, as Steve Roud makes clear in his book The English Year. Within the Christian tradition of Easter, the egg has long symbolized new life, birth, purity, fertility and regeneration: the emergence of the chick from the egg represents the resurrection of Christ the egg’s oval shape is symbolic of the stone rolled away from Christ’s tomb while early Christians stained eggs red to remember the blood of Christ shed at the crucifixion. More practically, eggs were a staple part of everyone’s diet – rich or poor – and crucially they were forbidden during Lent. This enforced abstinence explains their prominence in Shrovetide customs immediately before Lent, and at Easter when they make a return to the table. Eggs were given as gifts, paid as rent to social superiors in the medieval manor, and given to the church. In some farming communities, eggs functioned as a minor currency, and since hens were looked after by women within the household economy, this gave them a modest but regular income, as well as a rich source of protein with which to supplement their family’s diet.

The Egg as a Gift!

Alexander III Equestrian Faberge egg

The very act of giving eggs of varying sorts – coloured, papier-mâché and even bejeweled – as gifts at Easter itself has a long tradition, as is illuminatingly shown by Ronald Hutton in his book Stations of the Sun: A History of the Ritual Year in Britain. In 1290 the household of the English king Edward I bought 450 eggs to be coloured, covered in gold leaf and distributed among his royal entourage. Other lavish gifts of eggs include one sent to a youthful Henry VIII in a silver case as a seasonal gift from the Vatican (before his split from Rome) and the Russian Tsar Alexander III in 1885 commissioned a fabulously expensive decorated Fabergé egg as a special Easter present for his wife. Before the Reformation, the Church blessed eggs as food after the Lenten prohibition, and this developed into a custom of hard-boiling and decorating eggs as presents for children.


The 1907 Rose Trellis Egg is made of gold, green and pink enamel in various shades, portrait diamonds, rose-cut diamonds and satin lining. Possibly the missing surprise was a chain, made of diamonds and watercolor on ivory.

This beautiful gold Easter egg is enameled in translucent pale green and latticed with rose-cut diamonds and decorated with opaque light and dark pink enamel roses and emerald green leaves. A portrait diamond is set at either end of this Egg, the one at the base covering the date "1907". Unfortunately the monogram, that probably was under the portrait diamond at the other end, has now disappeared.

Fabergé's bill provides the following description of the surprise, now lost: "a chain of brilliants with a medallion holding a miniature of His Imperial Highness, the Grand Duke and Heir, Czarevich Alexei Nicolaievich. ". Further research indicated the portrait of the Heir was painted on Ivory. (Von Habsburg, Lopato, Fabergé: Imperial Jeweller , 1993).

Background information

1907 was one of the few years that the Egg for the Dowager Empress Maria cost more than the gift for Tsarina Alexandra. The other times this happened were: in 1896 the Alexander Monogram Egg, cost more than the Rosebud Egg, in 1910 Alexander III Equestrian Egg cost more than the Colonnade Egg, and in 1913 when the Winter Egg cost more than the Romanov Tercentenary Egg.

1920 owned by Alexander Polovtsov a former employee at the Gatchina Palace who started an antique shop in Paris. It is not known how Mr. Polovtsov acquired the Egg. In 1930, together with Maria Feodorovna's 1901 Gatchina Palace Egg, sold to agents of Henry Walters, Baltimore, Maryland, USA. In 1936 exhibited in the Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1952 On permanent exhibition in the Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.

All images on this page, courtesy The Walters Art Museum.

Corrected the description of the surprise. Snowman's 1979 said oval locket but the on the (Russian) invoice it is called a medallion. This correction is important because I think that the surprise belonging to this Egg has been identified. Read all about this discovery on his page!


Watch the video: Faberge Lost Eggs Recovered: Emerald Egg, Diamond Egg, Never Before Seen Footage Of Faberge Eggs (January 2022).