A fancy Fabergé holiday: Hop on over to HMNS for a regal Easter

Easter has long been considered a time of rebirth and renewal. In late nineteenth century Russia, there was no better way to celebrate this Christian holiday than with the gift of Easter eggs. Family members would often be given eggs with small chocolates or other surprises inside.

But for members of the Russian Imperial family, more was always more. So why would you settle on chocolate when you could give diamonds? Expanding the simple Easter tradition to extravagant extremes, the Russian Imperial family enlisted the help of the House of Fabergé to begin a tradition that would last a generation.

The first Imperial Easter Egg is known as the Hen Egg, and was made of gold coated in white enamel to look like a real egg. When opened, the egg revealed a matte finish gold yolk, containing a hen wearing a miniature crown and pendant.

This gift was such a success that Fabergé and his group of master artisans were given complete freedom over any future designs. Each Imperial Egg was uniquely designed to delight and surprise its owner.

The eighth Fabergé egg, presented in 1892 on Easter morning to Empress Maria Fedorovna, was a gift from her husband Tsar Alexander III. This stunning jadeite egg with rose-cut diamonds contained an ivory elephant surprise tucked inside. The beautiful egg, known as the Diamond Trellis Egg, was kept at the Anichkov Palace until the revolution in 1917. Visitors can now view it on display at HMNS with other Fabergé masterpieces in the Fabergé: A Brilliant Vision exhibition.

Learn more about the history and significance of Fabergé Easter eggs from collector Dorothy McFerrin in a presentation at HMNS on Mon., April 7 at 6:30 p.m. Click here for advance tickets.

Come early to the presentation and do your Easter shopping! From 4 to 6 p.m., the HMNS Museum Store is hosting a special Fabergé Trunk Show. Featuring enameled egg pendants and other Fabergé-inspired baubles —the perfect addition to any Easter basket, ahem, — this Trunk Show includes a reception and book signing of From a Snowflake to an Iceberg with Dorothy McFerrin from 5 to 6 p.m. prior to the evening lecture, “The Splendor of Fabergé Eggs” at 6:30 p.m.

Faberge

Rub elbows with the Royal Family at a distinguished lecture from Royal Curator Caroline De Guitaut

Caroline De Guitaut, curator at The Royal Collection Trust in London, is the author of three books on the work of Peter Carl Fabergé — Fabergé’s Animals: A Royal Farm in Miniature, Royal Fabergé, and Diamonds: A Jubilee Celebration. Basically, she’s kind of big deal when it comes to the The House of Fabergé, and she’ll be on-hand Feb. 25 to discuss just that in a Distinguished Lecture: Carl Fabergé: Imperial Jeweler to the Tsars.

De Guitaut is an authority on the work of Fabergé and manages the Royal Family’s personal jewel collection, in addition to inhabiting an illustrious space as The Person Who Has Touched Kate Middleton’s Wedding Dress.

Courtesy of Getty Images

Listen below to De Guitaut speak about Fabergé workmaster Albert Holmstrom’s Mosaic Egg — one of the famed Imperial Easter Eggs — and click here for tickets to see her in person!

Not your average Easter egg: Find the Fabergé Imperial Diamond Trellis Egg at HMNS for one week only

We’ve seen people get pretty intricate with their Easter egg dyeing (like this guy, and this one, and also this) but we’ve never seen an Easter egg quite as impressive as the one Tsar Alexander III presented to his wife, Tsarina Maria Feodorovna in 1892.

Imperial Diamond Trellis Faberge Egg

Called the Imperial Diamond Trellis Egg and created by renowned Fabergé workmaster August Holmström, the egg is on display exclusively at the Houston Museum of Natural Science beginning on April 6 — Good Friday.

Made from Jadeite, gold, rose-cut diamonds and silver, the egg is delicately hinged and originally opened to reveal an Easter surprise — a miniature elephant, which has since been lost, made from ivory, gold, enamel, and rose-cut and brilliant diamonds.

The Imperial Easter Egg has been displayed as if it is floating off-kilter in the Cullen Hall of Gems and Minerals Vault, but was originally propped on top of three cherubs thought to represent the three sons of the Imperial couple — the Grand Dukes Nicholas, George and Michael.

The egg is on loan from the McFerrin Collection and will be on display for one week only, so plan your visit soon!