Last update:
July 15th
2005

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Name The Pine Cone Egg

Date 1900

Provenance Presented by the industrialist Alexander Kelch to his wife Barbara (Varvara) Kelch-Bazanova

Made in St. Petersburg

Work-master N/A

Marks N/A

Media gold, diamonds, platinum, silver, velvet, ivory

Size 9,5 cm tall

Techniques guilloche (1), enamel

Kept in Collection Joan Kroc, San Diego, USA
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On April 15, 1997, Christie's offered Peter Karl Fabergé's Pine Cone Egg, a symbol of Resurrection, one of the finest and most important Fabergé eggs ever to come to market. Long thought to have been created for Czar Nicholas II, it is now known that the Pine Cone Egg was commissioned by the industrialist Alexander Kelch, a Russian gold mining entrepreneur and probably Faberge's wealthiest private patron.

Eggs of such grandeur were made for only a few customers apart from the imperial court. Never before, nor since, did Fabergé utilize the pine cone motif in combination with the superb and brilliant blue guilloche enamel.
The Pine Cone Egg is a masterpiece in translucent brilliant royal blue enamel over a sunburst guilloche ground, encrusted with rose cut diamond festoons mounted in platinum. At one end are set four pear shaped diamonds forming a quatrefoil over the date of presentation, 1900.

The exquisite egg shell opens to reveal, in a fitted velvet compartment, an amazing surprise - an oxidized silver Indian elephant automaton with ivory tusks supporting an enameled turbaned mahout seated upon a gold fringed red and green guilloche enamel saddle cloth. The miniature elephant is made of silver, gold, ivory, rose-cut diamonds and red and green enamel. Each side is set with three rose-cut diamond collets, one covers a keyhole. When wound with the original gold key, the tiny elephant - only two inches in length - lumbers forward, shifting its weight from one side to the other, all the while turning its head and flicking its tail.

In 1920, this was one of the six Kelch Eggs sold by Morgan, Paris, a La Vieille Russie, Paris. 1928 sold to a US buyer. 1929 - 1989 private Collection United States. 1989 sold by Christie's Geneva to a Daniel Grossman, acting for Joan Kroc (widow of Ray Kroc, founder McDonalds's chain). San Diego, California U.S. 1997 offered by Christie's (New York) collection Joan Kroc, passed at 2,8 million dollar.

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(1) Guilloche = a decorative design in which two or more curved lines or bands are interwoven, forming a series of spaces between them.

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