The Easter Egg "Hen" - The First Imperial Egg (1885)
The Jeweled Hen Egg is the first in a series of fifty-four jeweled eggs made under the supervision of Peter Carl Fabergé for the Russian Imperial family. It was made and delivered to Tsar Alexander III of Russia in 1885. In the 19th century, Russian Orthodox Christians held Easter as the most important day of the year. Following a strict fast throughout all of Great Lent, Easter was a day of celebration of Christ's resurrection. To celebrate this great holiday and Amid terrorist attempts on the Imperial family's lives, the Tsar wanted to give his wife, Maria Fedorovna, something that would take her mind off worries for the Easter of 1885. The tsarina and the tsar enjoyed the egg so much that Alexander III ordered a new egg from Fabergé for his wife every Easter thereafter.
- Series: Imperial Egg
- Company: House of Fabergé
- Made in: 1885 St. Petersburg, Russia
Design and Materials:
- Workmaster: Erik Kollin
- Materials used: Gold, opaque white vitreous enamel, rubies, ruby pendant, diamonds
- Height: 6,4 cm (2,5 in.)
- Width: 3,5 cm (1,4 in.)
The two halves open to reveal a gold yolk with a matte finish, containing a varicolored gold hen with ruby eyes. The hen is hinged on the tail feathers which allows it to also open up to reveal two additional surprises which are now missing. The first of these was a gold and diamond replica of the imperial crown. Suspended within the crown as the final surprise was a tiny ruby pendant. A necklace chain was included so the Tsarina could wear the pendant.
Current Ownership and Location:
- Year of acquisition and current owner: 2004 Viktor Vekselberg / The Link of Times Foundation
- Location: Museum of Fabergé in St. Petersburg, Russia
Reference: Wikipedia "First Hen Egg" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Hen_Egg
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