Craft – Faberge-inspired Egg

Faberge egg - final

Last year I published a post on the House of Fabergé which gave a brief history of the company.  Peter Carl Fabergé was famous for designing the beautiful jeweled Russian Imperial Eggs which were specially created between 1885 to 1917 for the Russian Tsar Alexander III and later his son Tsar Nicholas II.  In 2013 I published a separate post regarding the 54 Imperial Eggs that Fabergé had created during that time.  (For readers interested in more detailed information about the House of Fabergé or on the Fabergé Eggs, please click on the link to the previous blog posts)

Inspired by the Fabergé Eggs, I decided to create a Fabergé Egg craft project.  This idea started when I found the double eagle pendant in my local craft store.  The golden eagle pendant has a large blue gem set in the center and accented with diamond-like crystals.  I thought this pendant was a perfect inspiration for an Imperial Fabergé-style Egg.

Faberege Egg - inspiration piece

Fabergé-inspired Egg supply list

  • Large wooden egg
  • Large “inspiration piece” of jewelry (possibly a pendant or brooch)
  • Self-stick crystals (select a color to coordinate)
  • Paint – I used a deep blue to match the gemstone in the inspiration piece
  • Paint, paint brush
  • Sally Hansen Miracle Gel – Top Coat nail polish
  • Hot glue gun, hot glue sticks (option white glue stick to attach crystals)
  • Sandpaper

Fabergé-inspired Egg instructions

  1. Start by using sandpaper to smooth any rough edges to prepare the wooden egg for painting.
  2. Begin painting the bottom portion of the wooden egg, let dry completely.  Then paint the upper portion and let it dry completely.  (I selected a Royal Navy Blue paint color to coordinate with the blue gem of the “inspiration piece”Faberege Egg - paint
  3. To give the egg a beautiful finish to resemble the enamel technique that was often used in the creation of the original Fabergé Eggs I used the Sally Hansen Miracle Gel – Top Coat nail polish to achieved this effect.  Apply the nail polish directly to the entire egg; let it dry completely before proceeding to the next step.  (I think that the nail polish worked much better than a gloss paint to create an enamel look)Faberege Egg - top coat nail polish
  4. Prior to attaching the self-sticking crystals, work out the placement of the “inspiration piece” and then the final pattern and position of the crystals.  Once this is determined, attach the crystals to the egg leaving a space for the “inspiration piece”.  (If desired, the crystals can be additionally made secured with the use of glue)
  5. To complete the craft project, hot glue the “inspiration piece” to the egg.    

Faberge inspired egg - final



Russian Imperial Jewels

Previously on this blog, there have been numerous posts regarding the British Royal Family including posts about the Queen’s Jewelry Collection and the Cambridge Jewels.  In 1921 Queen Mary acquired a diamond and pearl tiara now known as the Grand Duchess Vladimir Tiara which was originally smuggled out of Russia by a British diplomat during the 1917 Revolution.  The Vladimir Tiara, now in the personal jewelry collection of Queen Elizabeth II, is one example of many Russian Imperial Jewels that survived after the Russian Revolution.  Unfortunately, many other items belonging to the Russian Imperial Family mysteriously vanished and have been lost.  In this post, I will discuss many of the Russian Imperial Jewels by giving individual descriptions and a brief history of each item and indicate which ones still exist either in a private collections or held in museums.

1925 Russian Imperial Crown Jewels

Russian Imperial Regalia

Imperial Crown of Russia

The Great Imperial Crown was first used for the coronation of Catherine II in September 1762 in Moscow and the last time it was used was for the coronation of Nicholas II in May 1896 in the Uspensky Cathedral inside the Kremlin.  The crown was designed by Jeremie Pauzie and the design was inspired by the Byzantine Empire.  It was created as two gold and silver half spheres divided with a floral garland which represented the joining of the Eastern and Western Roman empires.  The crown has 75 pearls and almost 5,000 diamonds which form laurel and oak leaves which symbolically represent power and strength.  At the top is a cross of five diamonds, representing the Christian faith of the Sovereign, the God-given power of the monarchy and the supremacy of the divine order over earthly power, set above an almost 400 carat red spinel.   The spinel (sometimes confused and difficult to distinguish from a ruby, this gemstone made of a hard glassy mineral usually formed as octahedral crystals) was originally brought from China to Russia by Nicholas Spafary, a Russian envoy, approximately in 1676.  Several centuries later the Great Imperial Crown made it out of Russia at the time of the Russian Revolution in 1917.  It was then temporary held in Ireland and ultimately was returned to Russia and can currently be seen display at the Kremlin Armory in Moscow.

Russian imperial crown

Russian Imperial Orb

Russian Imperial Orb was created for the coronation of Catherine II by the Russian court jeweler, Georg-Fredrik Ekart.  The gold orb is a polished hollow sphere encircled with a row of diamonds, then topped with an oval 47 carat sapphire surrounded by diamond and a gold cross with more diamonds.  The Russian Imperial Orb is on display at the Kremlin Armory in Moscow.


Russian Imperial Sceptre / Orlov Diamond

The Russian Imperial Sceptre was originally made for the coronation of Catherine II.  Set into the sceptre is the famous Orlov diamond which is surrounded by a row of smaller diamonds, above the gemstone is a small shield with double-headed eagle with the Arms of Russia enameled on its breast   The Orlov diamond measures almost 190 carats and is about 2 inches in height, I.25 inches in width and 1.25 inches in length.  The diamond was originally thought to be from India as determined by the clarity and the slightly blue-green color of the gemstone.  The oval dome front surface is cut with rows of triangular-shaped facets and the relatively flat bottom is cut with square-shape facets, for a total number approximately 180 facets.  The Orlov diamond can be seen on display at the Kremlin Armory in Moscow.  (Interesting Note: Legend has it when the Emperor Napoleon of France and his invading military forces were nearing the city of Moscow during 1812, to protect the Orlov diamond from being found and taken back to France, it was hidden inside the tomb of a priest buried within the Kremlin.  Upon entering the city, Napoleon gave the orders to find the massive gemstone.  When the location of the Orlov diamond was found Napoleon insisted that he should personally be present to take possession of it.  As one of Napoleon’s officers reached into the tomb to pick up the diamond, the spirit of the dead priest prevented them for taking it.  Needless to say, empty-handed and probably running in fear, Napoleon and the officers left the Kremlin without the Orlov diamond!)


Russian Imperial Nuptial Jewels

The brides of the Russian Imperial family have traditionally worn several pieces of jewelry at their weddings, such as the Russian Nuptial Tiara and Crown (yes, the brides wore both!).  Other items included the Russian Nuptial Necklace and Earrings and the large Russian Nuptial Brooch that was used to fasten the ermine robes worn by the bride at the wedding ceremony.  Several of the jewels became lost after the revolution and others are held in museums, such as the Nuptial Crown which is on display at the Hillwood Museum in Washington, D.C. and the Nuptial Tiara is at the Kremlin Armory in Moscow, Russia.     

Russian Nuptial Tiara

The Russian Nuptial Tiara has been worn by the Russian Imperial brides, including tsarinas and grand duchesses throughout the centuries.  The large diamond tiara was created around 1800 by Jacob David Duval, a St. Petersburg jeweler, for Empress Elizabeth Alexeievna.  The largest stone set in the centered in the lower portion of the tiara is a remarkable 13 carat pink diamond; in addition there is a row of briolette diamonds topped by diamond uprights.  Surprisingly, the tiara survived the Russian Revolution and is now displayed at the Kremlin Armory in Moscow.


This photo is a portion of the portrait by Laurits Tuxen of the 1894 wedding of Emperor Nicholas II and Princess Alexandra, the princess is seen wearing both the Russian Nuptial Tiara and Crown. 

Wedding of  Princess Alexandra and Emperor Nicholas II a

Russian Nuptial Crown

As part of the Eastern Orthodox Holy Matrimony, not only are rings exchanged as part of the ceremony, crowns are also placed on the heads of both the bride and groom.  The Russian Nuptial Crown was made around 1844, possibly by Nichols and Plincke jewelers.  There are 320 large diamond weighing approximately 182 carats and 1,200 smaller diamonds totally 80 carats; it is thought that most of the diamonds were previously used to embellish the clothing of Catherine II.  The diamonds are set in silver and mounted onto a crimson red velvet crown.  At a specific point in the wedding ceremony, the Nuptial Crown is placed behind the Nuptial Tiara. 


During and after the Russian Revolution, the Bolsheviks sold many of the Imperial Royal Family’s Jewels although some were secretly smuggled out of Russia possibly hidden in clothing or transported by way of couriers into other countries.  Records indicate that the Nuptial Crown was sold by Christie’s Auction House in 1927.  It was acquired by Marjorie Merriweather Post, an American businesswoman and heiress of the Post Cereal Company which she expanded into General Foods.  In the 1930s, when her husband was the U.S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union she continued collecting Imperial art and artifacts and eventually her collections was given to the Hillwood Museum in Washington, D.C.

Russian Rivère Diamond Necklace and Earrings

In addition to the Russian Imperial Tiara and Crown, the Romanov brides would wear other stunning diamond jewelry.  The Russian Rivère Diamond Necklace was a set of large diamonds and even more pear-shaped diamond drops that weighed a total of 475 carats; the necklace was once part of the Russian Imperial Crown Jewels.  During the time of the Russian Revolution the necklace was sold to an unknown buyer and has since mysteriously disappeared.  The matching earrings were originally commissioned by Catherine II and are large Brazilian diamonds are set in gold and silver and styled as cherries and stems.  The earrings are so heavy to wear that a special support wire was fashioned to be worn wrapped behind and over the ears; unfortunately the wire would frequently cut into the bride’s ears.

The Imperial rivière necklace  romanovnuptualearrings

Imperial Mantle Clasp

Over the wedding gown, the bride would wear the Imperial Mantle made of embroidered golden fabric edged with ermine; the mantle was also worn for coronations.  To fasten the mantle a magnificent clasp was used and it was set with diamonds of various sizes and shapes, it measured approximately 8 inches across.


Shown below in the photo is the Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna on the occasion to her 1908 wedding to Prince William, the Duke of Sodermanland who was the second son of King Gustav V of Sweden.  She is wearing the complete set of Imperial Nuptial Jewelry including the Russian Rivère Diamond Necklace and Earrings and the Imperial Mantle Clasp.

Russian wedding jewelry - Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna

Other Russian Imperial Jewelry

Russian Aquamarine Kokoshnik Tiara

The Russian Aquamarine Kokoshnik Tiara was said to be once owned by the last tsarina, Alexandra Feodorovna, married to Nicholas II of Russia.  The tiara was created around 1900 and it is styled in a kokoshnik (a traditional Russian headdress) shape.  The tiara has line and arches of diamonds and also features 16 graduated rectangular aquamarine stones set in platinum.  Shortly after the Russian Revolution the tiara was bought by Morris Wartski, an antique dealer based in England that specialized in Russian jewelry and artwork.  Over the years, the tiara has sold several times through auction houses such as Stotheby’s and Christie’s.  At the present time, the owner of the Russian Aquamarine Kokoshnik Tiara is unknown.

Russian Aquamarine Kokoshnik Tiara

Imperial Russian Bow Necklace

The Imperial Russian Bow Necklace is a beautifully designed fully articulated (sections connected by flexible joints) necklace.  In an open setting made entirely in silver, the necklace features a row of twenty-seven cushion-cut graduated-sized diamonds.  Bordering the large diamonds are two additional rows of smaller diamonds and finished with a diamond bow clasp.

Russian Imperial Bow Necklace - front

Russian Pearl Pendant Kokoshnik Tiara

The Russian Pearl Pendant Kokoshnik Tiara was originally made in 1841 by the court jeweler Bolin for Alexandra Feodorovna, the wife of Nicholas I.  The kokoshnik styled tiara features twenty-five large pearl pendants which hang from diamond arches attached to a diamond base.

After the Russian Revolution, the tiara was sold by Christie’s auction house in 1927 to the Holmes & Company Jewelers.  Later the tiara was bought by the Duke of Marlbourough for his wife Gladys.  After her death it was sold once again at auction in 1978 and was eventually bought by Imelda Marcos, the wife of Ferdinand Marcos who was the President of the Philippines.  It was said that the tiara was purchased under dubious circumstances possibly using state funds and after the disgraced couple fled their remaining possessions were confiscated including Imelda’s excessive quantities of jewels and shoes (remember that infamous massive shoe collection).  The Russian Pearl Pendant Kokoshnik Tiara now reportedly sits in a bank vault in the Philippines.

Empress Maria Fedorovna diadem

This post discusses just a small portion of the Russian Imperial Crown Jewels.  If interested in more information regarding other Romanov Jewels, please click on two posts about the House of Fabergé and Fabergé Eggs.  The first post gives a brief history of the Fabergé company started by Peter Carl Fabergé.  The second post gives information about the beautiful jeweled 54 Imperial Eggs that Fabergé created for the Russian Tsar Alexander III and later his son Tsar Nicholas II between 1885 and 1917.

Craft – Faberge-inspired Egg Box

Faberge eggIn my Décor post, Faberge Eggs, this month I told the story of these beautiful eggs and their connection with the Russian Romanov family.  Inspired by those Faberge eggs, I decided to recreate a simpler but still elegant oval “egg-shaped” wooden box that is painted and decorated with crystal and pearl stickers.  This box will be displayed in our family room bookshelf during the Easter season.

IMG_9366Faberge-inspired Egg Box – supplies

  • 1 wooden oval-shaped box (I used an oval to mimic the shape of an egg)
  • Sandpaper, used to prepared the rough surface of the wooden box
  • Pearl paint (I used Martha Stewart brand pearl acrylic paint in Mother of Pearl)
  • Paint brush
  • Pearl stickers
  • Crystal stickers
  • Glue stick, to fix or repair loose pearls/crystals

Faberge egg top Faberge egg open
Faberge-inspired Egg Box – instructions

  1. Pre-determine the pearl and crystal sticker placement prior to painting.
    (Sometimes stickers will come in an already established pattern as one application, like the one I used on the side of the wooden box.  On the edge of the lid, I alternated with placement of an individual pearl and diamond design. On the top of the lid, I pieced together several different patterns for a nice combination)
  2. Prepare the wooden oval-shaped box for painting, use sandpaper on all the surfaces, including both exterior and the interior of the box, to create a smooth surface.
  3. Paint the wooden box; let the paint on the different areas completely dry.
    (I suggest painting the inside of the box first, then the bottom, then the sides/top)
  4. Attach the pearl and crystal stickers in the different pattern combinations that were pre-determined ahead of time.  If any pearl or crystals come loose, use a glue stick to re-attach.

Craft Tip: For the wooden box that I created, I used a simple color palette of Martha Stewart pearl paint in white with pearl and “diamond” crystals for an almost monochromatic look.  Experiment with a color palette; using one, two or even three different colors, until you find the right combination that you like.

In a previous post on the House of Fabergé I gave a brief history of the company.  Peter Carl Fabergé was famous for designing the beautiful jeweled Russian Imperial Eggs which were specially created for the Russian Tsar Alexander III and later his son Tsar Nicholas II between 1885 and 1917.  In 2013 I published a post on the 54 Imperial Eggs that Fabergé created during that time.  (For readers interested in more detailed information about the House of Fabergé or on the Fabergé Eggs, please click on the link to the previous blog posts)

In another post, I was inspired by the original Russian Imperial Fabergé Eggs, I decided to recreate a more traditional and elegant style.  This idea started when I found the double eagle pendant in my local craft store.  The golden eagle pendant has a large blue gem set in the center and accented with diamond-like crystals.  I thought this pendant was a perfect inspiration for an Imperial Fabergé-style Egg.  (For more information on this craft project with a supply list and instructions, please click on the link to the Faberge-inspired Egg post)

Decor – Faberge Eggs

Faberge Lily of the Valley Egg

Peter Carl Faberge was a Russian jeweler who is famous for the legendary series of Russian Imperial Eggs created between 1885 and 1917 for Tsar Alexander III and later his son Nicholas II.  These eggs were lavish and intricate art pieces made of precious metals, painted with an enamel process and decorated with gem stones.  They have become a symbol of the Russian Imperial family and are considered the masterpieces of House of Faberge.

Easter is an important celebration in the Russian Orthodox Church.  Over the years a tradition of bringing hand-colored eggs to the Church to be blessed then later given as presents to family and friends.  For the wealthy members of Russian society the custom developed into giving more expensive jeweled eggs.  Faberge had been creating miniature jeweled eggs to be worn as jewelry for several years. The first Imperial Faberge egg was commissioned by Tsar Alexander III as a gift for his wife, Empress Maria Fedorovna.  Inspired by an egg owned by the Empress’s aunt, Princess Wilhelmina Marie of Denmark, during her childhood the Empress was known to have greatly admired this egg.  The Tsar wanted to give an Easter egg in a similar style as a romantic gift to the Empress to commemorate the 20th anniversary of their betrothal.

Faberge Hen EggThis first Faberge Egg created for the Russian Imperial family, known as the Hen Egg, was crafted in 1885 of gold with a white enameled shell which opened to reveal a series of delightful surprises.  The first was a golden yolk which opened to reveal a golden hen which also opened to display a miniature replica of the Imperial Crown created in diamonds and rubies.  (Currently, all that remains is the outer gold and enamel shell with the golden yolk and unfortunately the golden hen and miniature crown have been lost.)

When this first egg proved to be a success with the Empress, the Tsar commissioned Faberge to create additional Imperial Easter Eggs every year with the only requirement being that each would contain a hidden surprise.  Once Faberge was appointed the goldsmith to the Imperial Crown, he was given complete creative freedom and his designs became more elaborate and intricate.  When Alexander III died in 1894, his son Nicholas II, continued the family tradition and presented a Faberge egg to both his wife, Empress Alexandra and his mother, now Dowager Empress Maria, every year until 1916.

Each Faberge Imperial Egg, from conceptual drawing to complex production by a team of highly skilled craftsmen, could take over a year to complete.  Faberge designed his eggs to commemorate the milestones and achievements of the Russian Imperial court and also to reflect the personal events of the Romanov dynasty.  Such as, the 1911 Fifteenth Anniversary Egg that commemorated Nicholas II accession to the throne or the 1913 Romanov Tercentenary Egg which celebrated the 300 years of the Romanov dynasty which included portrait miniatures of the Russian rulers.  Throughout the years the element of the hidden surprises remained a constant feature of the Faberge Eggs.  Such as the 1897 Coronation Egg with a miniature replica of the Coronation carriage that took over 15 months to complete or the 1899 Pansy Egg which included a small heart shape medallion with miniature portraits of the Imperial family.

Fabrege Fifteenth Anniversary Egg     Faberge Tercentenary Egg

Faberge Coronation Egg     Faberge Pansy Egg

Faberge Winter EggThe most expensive Faberge Egg ever produced is the 1913 Winter Egg.  At the time the Tsar paid 24,600 rubles, which was a remarkably extravagant price for the time and the highest price he ever paid for a Faberge Egg.  The egg design is made with a thinly carved, almost transparent rock crystal, finely engraved and decorated in platinum gold and 1,300 diamonds in a pattern meant to resemble ice crystals and bordered with an additional 360 diamonds.  The removable egg sits upon a rock crystal base carved to resemble a block of melting ice.  The hidden surprise inside the egg is a miniature basket made of platinum gold and 1,300 diamonds and the flowers are made of white quartz, gold, and garnets.  (The Winter Egg sold at auction in 2002 at Christie’s in New York for $9.6 million)

Faberge produced 50 Imperial eggs over a 32 year period, with no eggs produced in 1904 and 1905 due to the political unrest during the Russian-Japanese War.  Two Imperial Eggs were in the process of being created and scheduled to be presented in 1917, but of course the tragic execution of the Tsar Nicholas II and his immediate family by the Bolsheviks during the Russian Revolution brought a violent end to the Romanov dynasty.  As a result production in the Faberge workshop closed, the entire inventory was seized and Peter Carl Faberge fled from Russia with his family.  (He died in Switzerland in 1920)

Only one of the Imperial Eggs, the 1916 Order of St. George, left Russia with the original owner, The Dowager Empress Maria.  Following the Russian Revolution, the Romanov palaces were ransacked by the Bolsheviks and by order of Vladimir Lenin the contents, including the Imperial Eggs, were moved to the Kremlin Armory.  Later in 1927, Joseph Stalin sold several of the eggs in order to obtain foreign revenue.  Then, between 1930 and 1933 an additional 14 Imperial Eggs were sold, some were purchased by Armand Hammer, the owner of Occidental Petroleum.  Malcolm Forbes, the publisher, owned nine Imperial Eggs and approximately 180 other Faberge items.  After his death in 1990, the entire collection was scheduled for sell at Sotheby’s in New York City in 2004, but before the auction started someone purchased them for the amount estimated between $90–120 million.  Currently, it is believed that of the 50 original Russian Imperial Eggs only 44 are known to still exist.

If you are interested in further information on the Russian Imperial Eggs, I would recommend the book, “Faberge’s Eggs: The Extraordinary Story of the Masterpieces That Outlived an Empire” by Toby Faber.  I also recommend the DVD, “Treasures – The Czar’s Faberge Eggs”, a 2005 A&E documentary.

For a great craft idea, please check out Faberge-inpried Eggs for a list of supplies and instructions.