Presented by Nicholas II to his
mother, the Dowager Empress Maria Fedorovna,
for Easter 1899, the Pansy Egg is one of only
two Imperial Eggs done in the Art Nouveau style.
Hand carved from polished Siberian Jade, it
rises from a base of spiraling twigs and leaves
studded with ribbons of diamonds. Fanciful Pansies
climb the sides of the Egg, their faces a mass
of rubies. Here and there on the stems, a newly
opened bud, its face - rubies. Inside, the surprise.
Locked in place by two silver gilt rings set
with rubies is a white Calcite Heart accented
with silver gilt swags and borders, a picture
frame to hold the one in your heart.
The original Pansy Egg was carved
of nephrite, a mineral similar to the Jade used
here. The only other difference is that the
original surprise was a heart on an easel with
paintings of 11 members of the Tsar's family,
each portrait covered by a tiny lid of Red Guilloché.