In the spirit of Easter, I brought out my handpainted eggs from a recent trip to Europe and chanced upon something in my googling; the incomparable Faberge Lilies of the Valley Egg.
You reckon these being naturals or cultured? The pearls, that is.
The Lilies of the Valley Egg is a jewelled Fabergé egg made under the supervision of the Russian jeweller Peter Carl Fabergé in 1898 by Fabergé ateliers. The supervising goldsmith was Michael Perchin. The egg is one of the two eggs in Art Nouveau style. It was presented on April 5 to Tzar Nicholas II, and was used as a gift to the Tsaritsa, Empress Alexandra Fyodorovna. The egg is part of the Victor Vekselberg's Foundation's Collection. [My edit: Other sources report that in 1979 Kenneth Snowman of Wartski sold the egg to Malcolm Forbes together with the Coronation Egg for a total of $2,160,000.]
The egg is covered in pearls and topped with pink enamel. The egg is supported by cabriole legs of green-gold leaves with rose diamond dewdrops. The gold-stemmed lilies have green enameled leaves and pearl flowers made with rubies and pearls.
Instead of a surprise when opening the egg, this egg's surprise gets 'elevated' out of the egg by twisting a gold-mounted pearl button. When fully raised three portraits are visible under the Imperial crown; Czar Nicholas II and his two oldest daughters, Olga and Tatiana, painted on ivory by Johannes Zehngraf. The portraits are in frames of rose diamonds on gold panels. They are framed in rose diamonds and backed with gold panels engraved with the presentation date: July 31, 1898.
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