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Stunning and unusual Faberge eggs

Once a fabulously ornate imperial Russian tradition, the Faberge egg has come a long way with new – and sometimes unexpected – editions.

CROSS HATCH

An art lover with a royal bent might define the years between 1916 and 2015 as a century-long creative dry spell, without the birth of a single new Faberge Imperial egg. These eggs go all the way back to the illustrious (and ill-fated) Romanov family, starting with Emperor Alexander III, who commissioned Russian jeweller Peter Carl Faberge between 1885 and 1893 to create 10 intricately decorated Easter eggs as gifts. Alexander’s son, Nicholas II, inherited both his father’s title and penchant for objets d’art, and another 40 were made, up until 1916, taking the total number of Imperial Easter eggs to 50.

It was not until 2015 that a new Imperial Class egg was made – this category is only for Faberge’s finest creations, and it was the first in 100 years. And now, a second one has been created. Spirit of Ecstasy is a collaboration between Faberge and Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, combining the Spirit of Ecstasy ornament that tops each Rolls-Royce car, with a Faberge egg’s exquisite form.

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Commissioned for a customer, the exterior of this egg comprises vanes made of diamond-studded rose gold and amethyst. They open to reveal a Spirit of Ecstasy figure, hand-sculpted from frosted rock crystal. This intricate 400g masterpiece took two years to complete. Tsar Nicholas II would have liked this one; after all, he was also a patron of the Rolls-Royce brand.

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US$14,000

(Or S$19,000.) The original price paid for the missing Third Imperial Egg by an American man, who had bought it thinking it was “scrap metal”, but was willing to pay that amount for its gold content. The egg was later sold for an estimated US$33 million to a private collector.

 

GOOD EGGS

Zaha Hadid Dichotomy egg for London's Faberge Big Egg Hunt

In 2012, famed architect Zaha Hadid designed a supersized aluminium Faberge egg for London’s Faberge Big Egg Hunt, a public Easter egg hunt for charity. Titled Dichotomy, her egg measured a whopping 77.5cm tall and 57cm across, and was auctioned off by Sotheby’s London for £45,000 (S$81,000). A total of 209 giant eggs were featured, designed by other artists and designers such as Diane von Furstenberg and Vivienne Westwood.

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