ibnlive » Tech

May 30, 2012 at 01:47pm IST

Google doodles eggs for Peter Carl Faberge's 166th birthday

New Delhi: A set of six exquisite jewelled eggs adorn the Google home page in honour of Peter Carl Fabergé. Wednesday is the 166th birth anniversary of the the legendary Russian jeweller. [Images]

Born on May 30, 1846 in St. Petersburg, Peter Carl Fabergé is most famous for his trademark Fabergé eggs. Having honed his jewellery skills in Germany, France and England, he joined his father's business in 1870.

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It was in the 1882 Pan-Russian Exhibition in Moscow where he won the gold medal that his achievements were recognised. In 1885 he was appointed as the court jeweller of the Romanov Dynasty, and the work that he did for the last two Czars that earned him worldwide fame.

Peter Carl Faberge: Google doodles Easter eggs

A set of five exquisite jewelled eggs adorn the Google home page in honour Peter Carl Fabergé.

The Russian royal family had the tradition of presenting Easter gifts. Fabergé made his first Easter egg for Czar Alexander III in 1885 which the Czar gifted to his Danish wife Empress Maria Feodorovna. The first egg contained a jewelled hen.

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The design of each of Peter Carl Fabergé's Easter eggs was a closely guarded secret before it was officially handed over to the Romanov family. Quite like today's much awaited electronic gadgets.

During the reign of Alexander III, Fabergé made one Easter egg every year. When Nicolas II ascended to the Russian throne in 1894, following the death of his father, Fabergé made two eggs - one for the current Czar's mother Maria Feodorovna and another for the Czarina Alexandra Feodorovna.

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The Easter egg tradition continued till the October Revolution of 1917 that overthrew monarchy in Russia and established a communist government that soon seized Fabergé's assets, including his company. Fabergé fled to Switzerland where he died in exile on September 24, 1920.

Fabergé designed Easter eggs for the Romanovs for 37 years, a total of 54 eggs. Only 47 of the Fabergé eggs are believed to have survived. Nine of the famous Imperial Fabergé eggs were displayed in India during an exhibition in late 2008.

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It is not that Peter Carl Fabergé designed bejewelled eggs only for the Russian royals, a select few prominent families and individuals also had Fabergé specially made for them.

The legend of the Fabergé eggs have also found their way into popular culture. In the 1983 movie Octopussy James Bond (Roger Moore) a Fabergé egg (in fact two, a real and a fake) play an important role (Watch the video embedded below).

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Peter Carl Faberge eggs

June 1935: Richly decorated and highly-ornate Faberge eggs, embellished with gold and precious stones, pictured as part of a Russian Art exhibition. (Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

Watch: James Bond and a Fabergé egg in Octopussy (1983)

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