House of Faberge: The story behind the world’s most luxurious eggs

Faberge egg split
CNN  — 

For over a century, the name Faberge has evoked wealth, opulence and the world’s most extravagant Easter eggs. The small, intricately decorated objets d’art – which Russia’s royal House of Romanov commissioned from the jeweler and goldsmith Peter Carl Faberge – are, still today, some of the most exquisite decorative works ever created.

The Imperial Eggs, as they came to be called, were first designed as holiday gifts in the mid-1880s. They were handcrafted using gold, diamonds and semi-precious stones like emeralds and pearls. Each of the one-of-a-kind designs featured richly pigmented layers of glass enamel, gold leaf and laced metalwork.

Faberge eggs ranged in size, from three to five inches tall, and took one to two years to complete. Often, they could be opened to reveal a surprise: a miniature portrait, a clock or a tiny automaton.