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House of Faberge

Faberge & His Family

Peter Karl Faberge was born on May, 30, 1846 in St.Petersburg, Russia. Four years before Karl's birth his father Gustave Faberge founded his own jewelry firm in St.Petersburg, 12, Morskaya Street, 12. In 1841, after finishing his studies under the guidance of the famous jewelers Andreas Ferdinandas Shpigel and Yorgan William Kibel, Gustave Faberge got the title of "The Master of Jewelry". Gustave Faberge, the founder of the firm, was born in the town of Pyarnu on the Baltic Sea in 1814. His father Peter Faberge moved there at the beginning of the 19th century. The Faberges were Protestants and their parents were Puritans from Picardi. In 1685 Lydovik the 14th abolished the religious freedom in the country and the Faberges had to leave France.

In 1842 Gustave founded his own jewelry firm and in the same year he married Charlotta Youngshtadt, the daughter of the Danish painter. His oldest son Peter Karl Faberge studied at the German St.Anna private school and continued his education at the private school in Dresden. After his studies, he traveled in Europe and soon began to learn the art of jewelry under the guidance of Joseph Fridman, the Frankfurt jeweler. In 1870 at the age of 24 Peter Karl Faberge returned to St.Petersburg. As he was very talented and had great skill and knowledge, he inherited the families firm.

In two years Peter Karl Faberge married Augusta Julia Yakobs, the daughter of the manager of the Emperor's furniture workshop. After ten years, Fabeger's firm became independent. The Emperor took it under his protection and Faberge got the title "The Jeweler of his Emperor's Majesty and the Jeweler of the Emperor's Hermitage". In these ten years Faberge created his first Easter Egg, a present to Emperor Nicholas II.

Faberge had four sons: Evgeny (1874-1960), Agaton (1876-1951), Alexandre (1877-1952) and Nikolai (1884-1939). All his sons continued his work. The dramatic events of 1917 changed the political structure of Russia and Karl Faberge closed his firm in 1918. Peter Karl Faberge died in Switzerland on September 24, 1920. Descendants of Karl Faberge continues producing the amazing jewelry.

In Engineer’s Castle of St. Peter and Paul Fortress Philip Birkenstein, the chairman of Teo Faberge Fund “St Petersburg Collection”, has presented to St Petersburg the egg “Neva”, made by the great Karl Faberge’s great grand-daughter Sarah. Last week a Faberge Fund delegation from Great Britain invited by St Petersburg International Cooperation Association visited the city. During these yearly visits, the city receives presents. This time Faberge Fund presented the gift to St Petersburg State Museum of History.

Creating Easter eggs with a surprise of precious metals had brought world fame to Karl Faberge’s jewellery firm. Already in 1906 Karl’s youngest son Nikolai opened the firm’s subsidiary in London. Although later, in 1917, the shop was closed, Nikolai stayed in London. In this city Nikolai’s son Teo was born, who continued than his father’s business. Teo Faberge is the only Karl Faberge’s grand-son living today. He works not only with precious metals, though he occupies himself with wood and ivory engraving and china paintings. In 1985 Teo Faberge started the work at St Petersburg Easter eggs collection.

Teo Faberge presented to St Petersburg State Museum of History two eggs from his collection: “St Petersburg” (1993) and “Kiev” (1996). Similar gifts were received by the State Ermitage (the egg “Moscow”, 1995), Reserve Museum Peterhof (the egg “Peterhof”, 1998) and State Reserve Museum Tsarskoye Selo (the egg “Alexander Palace”, 1999). The only daughter of Teo Faberge Sarah by family tradition had become a jewellery designer.

The egg “Neva”, the work of Karl Faberge’s great grand-daughter, is the third present of Faberge Fund to St Petersburg State Museum of History and Sarah’s first work, which has left Great Britain. Sarah herself could not attend at the ceremony of presentation, though her letter telling about the egg’s creation was read aloud by Philip Birkenstein.

“It was in winter, many years ago, - remembers Sarah her visit in Leningrad. – Ice, covering Neva, was sparkling in winter sunlight”. The egg “Neva” is the picture of the winter city on frozen river banks. It is made from crystal enamelled blue, with a picture: “hoar-frost” of the finest crystal pieces and silver “icicles”.

Sarah was especially impressed by the angel on St. Peter and Paul Cathedral’s spire, that is why the egg’s secret is a golden guardian angel. This motive is called up by St Petersburg’s symbol, though Sarah’s angel is not its precise copy. According to the author, a diamond torch in the angel’s hand lights up the way and guards the citizens, which is at the same time the symbol of St Petersburg citizens’ firmness.

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