The heroine of my novel is a professional jewel thief, and her target is a long-lost Faberge Egg. While writing the book I did tons of research on these spectacular masterpieces of the jeweler’s art. Today, I thought you might like to come along as I open a page into the storybook world of opulent Imperial Russia.
The most famous eggs produced by the House of Faberge were the large jeweled eggs created for Alexander III and Nicholas II of Russia, between the years of 1885 and 1997. The members of the royal family would give these eggs to each other, every year, for Easter.
The egg my main character is attempting to steal, the Aurora Egg, is a figment of my imagination. But it was inspired by the fact that although there are 50 known Imperial eggs, only 42 have survived to the present day. There are, in reality, 8 lost Imperial Faberge Eggs.
The largest current collection of Imperial Eggs totals ten, and resides in Moscow, Russia, in the Kremlin Armory Museum. The next largest collection, gathered by Malcolm Forbes, consists of nine eggs exquisite eggs. They are currently on display in New York City.
So just how much is a legendary Faberge egg worth? Well, in 2002 the 1913 Winter Egg was sold at auction for $9.6 million. Then, in 2007 the Rothschild Egg (which is, technically, a clock made by Faberge in 1902 for the Rothschild family, not the Imperial family) was sold by Christie’s, at auction, for a record 8.9 million pounds sterling.
The most intriguing thing about Faberge Eggs is that they all contain a “surprise” inside. Sadly, many of these have been lost over the years. The surprise inside the 1902 Clover Leaf Egg has been long lost (or stolen?), but the archives describe it as a four leaf clover containing 23 diamonds and miniature portraits of the four daughters of the Czar: Olga, Maria, Tatiana, and Anastasia.
Naturally, the Faberge Egg featured in A Beautiful Heist contains a very special surprise, too, and with it, the key to an ancient secret…but, of course, you’ll have to read to find out what it is. Shhh…
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