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Fabergé the Firm...
The Art of Fabergé Fabergé the Firm Fabergé the Man The Fabergé Family

The House of Fabergé manufactured jewelry of the most exquisite design, religious objects, small useful objects such as picture frames, seals, cigarette cases, cigarette holders, belt buckles, letter openers, even gum pots, as well as objet d'art: tea sets, figurines, silver flatware, crystal and, of course, the Eggs.

Having read a number of books about Fabergé and his work, I had noticed a strange thing. None of the authors had ever committed himself to positively identifying the designer of any of the Eggs. It puzzled me. I knew about the workmasters and that they actually did the work on the Eggs, I knew that gilders did the gilding and that goldsmiths did the engraving and the chasing but always in my mind was the question--who designed these exquisite things and could they all have been designed by just one person?

When I met Tatiana Fabergé the very first questions I put to her was, 'Who was the designer of the Eggs? Was it Fabergé himself? Did he create all of the Egg designs?' Her answer was that her father had told her that her great grandfather had designed some but not all. Others in the firm were involved as well and some were the result of the combined creativity of more than one or two people. She told me that in her book I could see copies of the paperwork for many of the Eggs and it would provide answers to many of my questions. She told me that when she went to Russia to do the research for the book, it was the first time the Russian Government had permitted anyone access to the files and paperwork they had seized so many years before. Because her name was Fabergé they gave her complete access to all of the long stored company files and records. The result of this was we now have information that simply had not been available to any of those who had written about Fabergé prior to 1992 when Tatiana Fabergé and her co-authors wrote 'The Fabergé Imperial Easter Eggs.'

At the height of the firm's success there were more than 500 artisans in their employ who made these incredibly beautiful objects. Every single thing that was made under the auspices of Fabergé, no matter how simple, was given their complete attention and ended by being the very finest of what ever it was. Among their many workmasters were several whose work has become so well known that they have gained renown in their own right.

Mikhail Perkhin was workmaster for sixteen of the eggs, including the following:
Danish Palaces Egg Rosebud Egg, Coronation Egg, ·Renaissance Egg, Lily of the Valley Egg, Pansy Egg, Clover Egg, Trans-Siberian Railway Egg, Peter the Great Egg.

August Holmstrom was workmaster for two eggs:
Diamond Trellis Egg, and the Mosaic Egg.

Henrik Wigstrom was workmaster for eight Eggs:
Rose Trellis Egg, Cradle with Garlands Egg, Peacock Egg, Alexander Palace Egg, Standart Egg, Red Cross Egg, Napoleonic Egg, Steel Military Egg.

Albert Holmstrom, the son of August, was workmaster for three Eggs:
The Winter Egg, Romanov Tercentenary Egg, Grisaille Egg.

They worked in many different mediums including rock crystal, nephrite, jade, chalcedony, jasper agate, obsidian, lapis lazuli, silver, many colors of gold, platinum, pearls, and of course, the finest quality gemstones. Fabergé's pièce de résistence was enamel guilloché. They took a technique that had been in use for many years and developed it into something much, much more than what it had been. Using translucent enamels in more than 150 different tints and shades and their own techniques of engraving in 120 different patterns they made enamel guilloché synonymous with the name of Fabergé.

The House of Fabergé continued to grow and prosper through the years until the onset of the Revolution in 1917, when all of their assets were seized by the Bolshevist government who closed the company down. Many of the employees were lost in the terrible times during the Revolution. Several of the workmasters fled to their own countries, i.e. Wigstrom, Holmstrom father and son. Peter Carl Fabergé escaped Russia, went first to Germany and then to Switzerland. He never adjusted to life away from Russia and died in September of 1920 at the age of 74.

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