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

FabergeMention a man's name and each person to whom he is known will describe him based on the face that man presents to him. Mention the name Fabergé and one descriptive phrase comes through, 'a man driven by integrity who refused to compromise on quality.' Even now, almost ninety years after the demise of The House of Fabergé, opinions may vary because of designs that were flights of fancy but none dispute the technical brilliance of the work that was produced by The House of Fabergé.

Fabergé was born in St. Petersburg Russia in 1846 to a Danish mother and a father whose heritage was French but whose family had fled France in the seventeenth century when the persecution of the Huguenots was rampant. It was not until the nineteenth century that the family settled in Russia. Peter Carl received a fine education both in Russia and in Dresden, Germany and then traveled Europe for a few years taking time to spend two years apprenticed to a well known German goldsmith and jeweler. At the age of 24 he returned to Russia and joined the jewelry firm his father had established. Within a few years he took the reins of the business and gradually changed the emphasis of the company from jewelry to the design and manufacture of objets d'art.

He had an unerring instinct for gathering the best and the brightest around him and recognized that to keep these people in his employ he needed to give them more than just good pay although he gave them that as well. He was so advanced in his thinking that he gave them a bright and airy place in which to work, but most of all he gave them the chance for recognition by having each man sign the work he produced hence our knowledge of his workmasters. These things alone set him apart from other entrepreneurs. The condition of the workplace was not of any importance in those days and concerning oneself with the attitude of the workers was nearly unhead-of.

The firm prospered and in 1882 several major events occurred that set Peter Carl Fabergé on the course that led him to fame. He became a Master in the Second Guild which gave him special privileges in the workplace, most important of which was the right to use his own hallmark and this established the firm as a 'major player' in the jewelry and goldsmithing fields. His younger brother Agathon joined the firm and brought with him new and very creative ideas in design. Fabergé was chosen by the Hermitage Museum as the restorer of their precious objects collections and the firm participated in the Moscow Pan-Russian Exhibition. It was here that Tsar Alexander III and his Empress discovered The House of Fabergé and here that they became so enchanted with the art of Fabergé. In 1885 Tsar Alexander commissioned Fabergé to make the first Imperial Egg and gave him the title of Supplier to the Court of His Imperial Majesty.

The age of Fabergé had arrived. Alone, he had 'redefined the meaning of elegance in a world of extravagant splendor.'

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