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February 10th

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Name Diamond Trellis Egg

Date 1892

Provenance Presented by Alexander III to Czarina Maria Fyodorovna

Made in St. Petersburg

Work-master August Holmström

Marks Fabergé, A. H. in Cyrillic, 72, crossed anchors and scepter

Media gold, platinum, silver, diamond, bowenite, ivory, satin

Size 10,8 cm tall - surprise : 6x5,5x3,4 cm

Techniques casting, engraving, carving

Kept in The Royal Collection, London
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Click on the thumbnails to see a bigger image

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eggThe thinly carved translucent bowenite (also called jadeite) body of the egg set at the top and bottom with a diamond from which emanate sixteen undulating trellis of silver and platinum set with rose-cut diamonds; with gold hinge and inner gold rim, marked inside. The lapidary work for the diamond trellis egg was executed in the Fabergé workshop of Karl Woerffel and not Peter Kremlev.

According to the original Fabergé invoice dated April 7th 1892, (which is now in the Russian State Archives), the price of the Diamond Trellis Egg was 4750 roubles.

The base, now lost, was composed of a silver group on a round pale-green stone slab representing three little silver cherubs holding the egg; the three boys were said to represent the three young sons of the Imperial couple, Grand Duke Nicholas (later Tsar Nicholas II, 1868-1918), George (1871-1899) and Michael (1878-1918). The Diamond Trellis Egg and its base with the three cherubs can be seen on an old photograph (image source:

The process of making these eggs usually took about one year. Work started soon after Easter, and they were only just ready for Holy Week of the following year. They were usually presented to the Emperor himself by the head of the firm on Good Friday.

inThe surprise, a miniature elephant, was the first Fabergé automaton produced in his workshops. The elephant was to be repeated eight years later in the 1900 Pine Cone Egg made for Barbara Kelch. Only six eggs are known to contain such an independent automaton, these are this 1892 Diamond Trellis Egg, the 1906 Swan Egg, the 1908 Peacock Egg, the 1911 Bay Tree Egg, the 1914 Catherine the Great Egg and the 1900 Kelch Pine Cone Egg.

The egg, lined with white satin, has a space for the figure of the elephant and a key for winding it. The ivory figure of an elephant, clockwork, with a small gold tower, was partly enamelled and decorated with rose-cut diamonds on its back; the sides of the figures bearing gold decorations in the form of two crosses, each with five white precious stones. The elephant's forehead was decorated with the same kind of stone. The tusks, trunk and harness were decorated with small rose-cut diamonds, and a black mahout was seated on its head.

The theme "elephant" is used several times by Fabergé in the Imperial Easter Egg. The elephant appears on the coat of arms of the Danish Royal family, and Maria was before her marriage to Alexander III, the Danish Princess Dagmar. The Diamond Trellis Egg is lined with white satin and has a space for the elephant and a key for winding it.

 fab 6It was likely sold by the Soviets at the same as its egg, and may have been resold by Wartski. It was recorded as missing, but had been purchased by George Vin 1935 and was residing in a cabinet in Buckingham Palace, where in 2015 it was identified as Fabergé and the lost surprise by Royal Collection Trust senior curator Caroline de Guitaut.

The surprise and the egg were placed on display together for the first time at the Houston Museum of Natural Sciences in 2017 since the identification of the surprise where the surprise was loaned by the Royal Collection Trust/Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II for a year.

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