Peter Carl Faberge

All Sources -
Updated Media sources (1) About content Print Topic Share Topic
views updated


(18461920), jeweler to the Russian imperial court; creator of the stunning Easter eggs, holiday gifts to Nicholas II and his family.

Peter Carl Fabergé was born in 1846 in St. Petersburg, the son of a master goldsmith. The French surname of the future jeweler derives from his family's Huguenot background; they left France during the seventeenth century, moving eastward from Germany to the Baltic before settling in Russia. Peter Carl, also called Carl Gustavovich in keeping with the Russian patronymic tradition, was educated in the local German-language school and later attended commercial courses at the Dresden Handelsschule. The combination of his astonishing craftsmanship and cosmopolitanism gave him entry to all European royal houses.

In 1861 young Carl set out on his requisite Grand Tour of the continent. He developed an abiding interest in renaissance and baroque designs and was especially influenced by the French rococo of the eighteenth century. His mastery of fine detail and ability to work in a variety of precious metals and jewels, including hardstone carving, contributed to his unique style Fabergé. In addition to his legendary eggs, whose matching of the delicacy of fine jewelry with technological innovations was epitomized by the miniature Trans-Siberian train that chugged through one of them, his oeuvre ranged from carved animals to icons to cigarette cases. His clients, primarily from the pan-European aristocracy, knew that he could be trusted not to repeat the specific designs they requested.

Fabergé matched his exquisite style with a finely honed business acumen. From his renowned establishment in St. Petersburg on Bolshaya Morskaya Street, he published catalogs of his objets d'art. Employing the finest craftsmen, he expanded his enterprise to Moscow, drawing the attention of serious art collectors from Bangkok to Boston; special exhibitions held around the world continue to attract by the thousands. He left Russia in 1918 and died in Lausanne, Switzerland, in 1920. Fabergé lies buried alongside his wife in Cannes.

See also: french influence in russia; st. petersburg


Von Habsburg, Géza. (2000). Fabergé: Imperial Craftsman and his World, with contributions by Alexander Von Solodkoff and Robert Bianchi. London: Booth-Clibborn Editions.

Louise McReynolds

views updated

Peter Carl Fabergé (fäbĕrzhā´), 1846–1920, Russian goldsmith and jeweler, b. St. Petersburg. Sometimes described as a latter-day Cellini, he was descended from Huguenots and inherited (1870) his father Gustave's jewelry firm in his native city. The business flourished under the younger Fabergé's direction, expanding to include the creation of precious objects in gold, silver, vermeil, enamelwork, and gems. By 1906 there were branches in St. Petersburg, Moscow, Odessa, Kiev, and London, and the firm employed well over 500. Favorites of the aristocracy, Fabergé and his studio became particularly known for their opulent, intricate, and ingenious Easter eggs, which were often used as gifts by czars Alexander III and Nicholas II. The Russian Revolution meant the downfall of such lavish artistry, however gorgeously wrought; the Fabergé business was nationalized in 1917 and closed the following year. Fabergé himself fled to Lausanne, Switzerland, where he soon died.

views updated

Fabergé, Peter Carl (1846–1920) Russian jeweller. He took over his father's business in 1870, making decorative objects in gold and precious stones. Famed for his designs of flowers and animals, he made many jewelled Easter eggs for European royalty, the first for Tsar Alexander III in 1884. Fabergé left Russia after the Revolution of 1917.

views updated

Fabergé, Peter Carl (1846–1920), Russian goldsmith and jeweller, of French descent. He is famous for the intricate Easter eggs that he made for Tsar Alexander III and other royal households.