In 1861, Gustav’s son, Peter Carl Fabergé (1846-1920) entered the business. He first apprenticed with Gustav’s partner, Peter Hiskins Pendin, and then traveled to Germany, London, Italy, and France to complete his education, studying both manufacturing and design. French designs especially intrigued him. When he assumed responsibility for the Fabergé workshops in 1870, he made sure the firm produced jewellery and objects in line with Parisian trends. At the time, this meant creating designs faithful to various historical revivals.
Clock designed by Peter Carl Fabergé for Nicolas and Alexandra of Russia.
Fabergé’s Silver, Enamel and Plique-à-Jour Tea Glass Holder.
Enameled Cufflinks c.1900 by Fabergé.
Photo Courtesy of Christie’s.
The firm’s most marked contribution to jewellery design rests not in any particular trend that they initiated but in the technical fineness of its pieces, in particular, its enameling. Fabergé’s enamelists, as jewellery historian A. Snowman says, “greatly extended the range of actual colors of enamel as well as employing much more attractive color harmonies.”3 Its craftsmen used a range of techniques including guilloché, champlevé and cloisonné. Fabergé’s fifty-six Imperial Easter Eggs deserve special note here. They are considered miniature masterpieces; the quality of the enamel work they feature is unsurpassed. The firm’s flowers and carved animals, which owe a great deal to Chinese and Japanese design, are also notable. Fabergé’s jewelry is likewise coveted, though lesser known.
Enameled and Bejeweled Fabergé Egg with Clock and Rooster Automation by Dated 1902. Photo Courtesy of Christie’s.
Maker’s Marks and Timeline:
- Gold & Silversmiths to the Russian Imperial Court.
- Specialized in enamel, working in the 18th-century French style.
- ‘Objets de Fantaisie
- Founded by Gustav Fabergé (1814-1893)
- Had apprenticed with a jeweler in St. Petersburg.
- Gustav Fabergé retired.
- Peter Carl Fabergé controls the firm.
- Trained in Frankfurt and St. Petersburg.
- First Imperial Easter Egg Royal Warrant Awarded.
- Royal Warrant from Sweden & Norway.
- Carl Fabergé awarded the Legion d’ Honeur for Paris Exhibition.
- Shut Down by the Russian Revolution.
- Peter Carl Fabergé escaped and died in Switzerland – 1920.
- Separate workshops sponsored by Fabergé.
- A.W. Holmström
- M.E. Perchin
- H. Wigström