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Peter Karl Fabergé

karl-faberge-image.jpg 1846 - 1920. Peter Carl Fabergé original name Carl Gustavovich Faberge was a Russian jeweler, who was best known for the famous Fabergé eggs, made in the style of genuine Easter eggs, but using precious metals and gemstones rather than standard materials.

He was born in St. Petersburg into the family of the French jeweler Gustav Fabergé and his Danish wife Charlotte Jungstedt. Gustav Fabergé’s father’s family were Huguenots, originally from La Bouteille, Picardie, who fled from France after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, initially to Germany near Berlin, then in 1800 to the Baltic province of Livonia, then part of Russia.

Young Fabergé began his education at St. Anne's Gymnasium, the German school in St. Petersburg. In 1860, the family moved again, to Dresden, and shortly thereafter, the teenage Carl went on a study trip, learning the jeweler’s business at the House of Friedman in Frankfurt. In 1864, he returned to St. Petersburg and joined his father’s business, taking over its management in 1872.

Carl and his younger brother Agaton were a sensation at the Pan-Russian Exhibition held in Moscow in 1882. Three years later, Tsar Alexander III appointed Carl an official Court Supplier, as a reward for making a splendid Easter egg as a gift for Tsarina. Thereafter, Fabergé made an egg for the royal family every year. The next tsar, Nicholas II, ordered two eggs each year, one for his mother and one for his wife, Alexandra, a practice which continued from 1885 to 1917.

Carl Faberge became the Tsar’s Court Goldsmith in 1885. The Imperial Easter eggs were a sideline; Fabergé made many more objects ranging from silver tableware to fine jewelry. Fabergé’s company became the largest in Russia, with 500 employees and branches in St. Petersburg, Moscow, Odessa, Kiev and London. It produced some 150,000 objects between 1882 and 1917. In 1897 the Swedish court appointed Fabergé Court Goldsmith. In 1900 his work represented Russia at the World’s Fair in Paris.

The main Fabergé store in Saint Petersburg was officially renamed Yakhont (Ruby) but still is known as the “Fabergé store.”

In 1917, amidst the chaos of the October Revolution, Carl sold his shares in the company to his employees and fled Russia. He went first to Finland, with assistance from the British Embassy, and then to Wiesbaden, Germany making stops in Riga, Berlin, Frankfurt and Hamburg. Fabergé and his wife moved to Bellevue Hotel in Lausanne, Switzerland. When he died, he was buried beside his wife Augusta in the Cimetière du Grand Jas in Cannes, France.

Fabergé had four sons: Eugéne (1874-1960), Agathon (1876-1951), Alexander (1877-1952) and Nicholas (1884-1939). Agathon fled to Finland via Terijoki and Viipuri. He settled in Kulosaari in Helsinki and dedicated his life to the philately. He ended his life there. Agathon and his wife Maria are buried at the Orthodox cemetery of Helsinki. Their son Oleg Faberge (1923-1993) is also buried there.

His sons Eugené Fabergé and Alexander Fabergé founded the successor of Fabergé Co.; as of 1989 it was owned by the global cosmetics company and the Faberge license was given to the jeweler Victor Mayer. The Fabergé workmaster continues the legacy of the famous brand and is its sole legal successor. Sarah Fabergé and Tatiana Fabergé are the last surviving descendants of Peter Carl. In 2007 Faberge Co. was acquired by the Russian diamond mining company. The cosmetics products were discontinued and the company was reestablished as a luxury brand featuring fine jewelry and precious stones.

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