Faberge Exhibit in Detroit Museum

 

Fabergé: The Rise and Fall

Exhibit at the

 Detroit Institute of Arts

October 14, 2012 – January 21, 2013

 

Fabergé: The Rise and Fall features more than 200 precious objects from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, home of the largest collection of Fabergé in the United States.

The objets on view will be exhibited with text and images to help visitors imagine the ways in which such luxury items would have been manufactured by Faberge’s artisans and used to adorn the interior of the Imperial palace.

A feature of the exhibit is a modern day rendition of the Imperial Coronation Egg by Vivian Alexander. The owner and workmaster of the firm, Alexander, says the egg on display is actually made from a rhea egg shell, but is the same size and shape as the Fabergé original. His interpretation has strands of gold thread in a sunburst pattern centered in each of the cloisons formed by the raised gold laurel leaf pattern. Thread was used for the pattern instead of the guilloché work originally used by Fabergé because of the delicate nature of an egg shell, contrasted to the solid gold of the original. The multi layered enamel in translucent gold is applied to the egg shell using an enameling process developed by Alexander. The method emulates the fired enamel famously used and perfected by Fabergé on his Imperial Eggs. Building on techniques established over the centuries, Fabergé developed over 140 shades of enamel. Alexander now has in his Studio over four hundred iterations of enamel, shades and variations unheard of just a few years ago.

At each intersection of gold laurel leaves is an exact replica of the Romanoff Double Eagle insignia cast in pewter, plated in gold and enameled in black. Embedded on each crest is a tiny faceted crystal. Prominently displayed on each end of the egg shell is a large Swarovski crystal nestled in an ornate gold finding. The egg was designed to represent the gold coronation robes worn by Nicholas and Alexandra at his coronation and was presented to his czarina on the Easter following the occasion.

 

Note: Alexander is scheduled to give a lecture and demonstration Monday, January 21, 2013 at the Detroit Institution of Art on the jewelry practices used by Fabergé vs. current practices.