Last update:
July 13th
2005

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Name Order of Saint George or Cross of St George Egg

Date 1916

Provenance Presented by Nicholas II to Dowager Empress Maria Fyodorovna

Made in St. Petersburg

Work-master N/A - miniatures probably by Vasilii Zuiev

Marks Fabergé on medallion

Media gold, silver, rock crystal, ivory

Size 8,4 cm tall - with stand 10,5 cm - original case: 18,4 cm tall

Techniques enamel, watercolor

Kept in Svyaz' Vremyon Fund - Viktor Vekselberg collection - Moscow
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eggThe egg honors the Order of St George, which was awarded for military bravery. The mat opalescent white enamel egg is under painted with a green enamel garlanded trellis which frames St. George crosses in white and red enamel. A ribbon in the Order's colors of black and orange, encircles two medals; one mounted with the Order of the Cross of St. George (verso) and the second of silver chased with the portrait of Czar Nicholas II in profile (recto). The badges lift to reveal painted miniatures of Tsar Nicholas and Tsarevitch Alexis respectively. The silver crowned monogram of the Dowager Empress surmounts the egg; the date of presentation in silver is set directly below. It costed 13,347 rubles.

This simple yet elegant Egg, given to the Dowager Empress Maria that year, was another gesture to wartime austerity. Kept in the Anitchkov Palace, the egg was taken by the Empress with her to Kiev in 1917, and later to the Crimea. Away from St. Petersburg supervising Red Cross activities in the south, she wrote to her son:

"I kiss you three times and thank you from the bottom of my heart for your dear postcards and the delightful egg with the miniatures that dear Fabergé himself came with. Amazingly beautiful. It is so sad not to be together. I wish you, my dear Nicky with all my heart, all the best things and success in everything. Your warmly loving, old Mama."
She never returned to St. Petersburg, and when she was finally evacuated on a British cruiser, she carried it with her. It was the egg she held most dear. When she died, it was left to her daughter, the Grand Duchess Olga, Nicholas II's sister. After her death, it passed to her oldest son, Prince Vassily, who sold it at Sotheby's on 27 November, 1961 for 11,000 pounds. It was later purchased by Fabergé, Inc. and then acquired by ALVR for sale to the Forbes Collection in 1976.

After eighty years of exile this egg has been returned home thanks to Russian businessman Viktor Vekselberg, Chairman of board of directors of Open Society "Sual-holding" who has purchased it from successors to Malcolm Forbes and has made it accessible to the Russian citizens. Sale of the Forbes' collection from Sotheby's auction in the beginning of 2004 could make objects channel off in separate collections and countries. Purchasing of the whole collection by V. Vekselberg before the advertised bidding is unprecedented in auction practice.

inThe surprise is that a circular frame, surmounted by a miniature crowned cross of the Order and its entwined orange and black ribbons, can be raised and reveals a miniature of the Czar and of his beloved son in military uniform at the Front.

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