From Kings and Queens to highly-monied entrepreneurs, many of the most prominent and wealthy art collectors of the 20th and 21st Centuries have been beguiled by the lure of the remarkable Fabergé Egg. Only 50 pre-1917 Russian Imperial Eggs were ever completed and they are exceptionally precious creations that are some of the most valuable and coveted objects ever to have been created.
Now a fifty-first example has been designed and produced. Two of the world’s most iconic houses of luxury have joined forces to create one unique objet d’art, for one discerning patron. Rolls-Royce Motor Cars and Fabergé Jewellers announce the ‘Spirit of Ecstasy’ Fabergé Egg.
Cocooned within the complex workings of the egg is an iteration of the Spirit of Ecstasy, the enigmatic mascot that has adorned Rolls-Royce motor cars since 1911. Conceived by Rolls-Royce designers Stefan Monro and Alex Innes, then rendered by Fabergé lead designer, Liisa Talgren, Fabergé workmaster, Paul Jones, has formulated a contemporary interpretation of one of the world’s most fabled and prized possessions.
In fact, the ‘Spirit of Ecstasy’ Fabergé Egg, the second to be commissioned in the ‘Imperial Class’ since 1917 (a classification reserved strictly for Fabergé’s most illustrious creations), celebrates the history, heritage and legend for which both Rolls-Royce and Fabergé have been revered for more than a century. Both brands have navigated the vicissitudes of time and continue to produce the apogee of modern, highly sought after and true luxury items. The Egg is destined for the residence of a great collector of both brands.
It connects the elements that lie at the very core of each marque. The Spirit of Ecstasy is the illustrious muse that has guided each Rolls-Royce motor car for over a century, while the form of a Fabergé Egg is the pinnacle of ornamental expressionism. The masterpiece resulting from this distinguished collaboration reflects the extraordinary attention to detail and the consummate craftsmanship for which both brands are renowned to this day.
Torsten Müller-Ötvös, CEO Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, commented: “‘The Spirit of Ecstasy’ Fabergé Egg was born from an intrinsic desire to further the realms of bespoke personalisation. Responding to the on-going demands of patrons in search of unique and cherished possessions, a designer at the House of Rolls-Royce sketched an Egg, igniting a fascination that will undoubtedly become one of the most collectable items of modern times.”
A team of seven craftspeople from Fabergé undertook the challenge of fabricating the design using the finest materials married with their extraordinary skills as artist jewellers. At first glance, the Egg is unmistakable in its character. Design cues from Fabergé’s heritage are woven masterfully into the intricate design, which stands at 160mm and weighs a mere 400g, with the Egg harnessing the ‘surprise and delight’ attributes for which Imperial Eggs have always been celebrated.
It rests on an engine-turned, hand-engraved, purple enamel guilloché base of 18 carat white gold. Arms of rose gold define the shape of the Egg, acting as a protective chamber for the Egg’s precious inhabitant. Upon operating the movement, via a discreet lever at the base of the stand, a sense of theatre ensues, as the boughs open to present the fine figurine of the Spirit of Ecstasy, hand-sculpted in frosted rock crystal, standing within opulent surroundings. The rose gold vanes, embellished with nearly 10 carats of round white diamonds, resolve into swathes of natural amethyst weighing over 390 carats, selected specially for its colour saturation and quality. The purple hue of the enamel and amethyst provide a playful nod to the use of colour found in Fabergé’s royal Russian heritage.
The ‘Spirit of Ecstasy’ Fabergé Egg adopts a highly complex operating mechanism, conceived through computer aided design and animation, developed with micro engineering. Its success can be attributed to the goldsmiths’ art as craftspeople and their ability to meld their skills with technology, creating a work of art that could not be created by man alone.
Sean Gilbertson, CEO Fabergé said: “An unique moment in both our companies’ history, the creation of the ‘Spirit of Ecstasy’ Egg represents the meeting of two masters of unrivalled quality and design, showcasing two globally recognised symbols – the Fabergé Egg and the Spirit of Ecstasy.”
Fifty Imperial Easter Eggs were created for the Russian Royal family between 1885 and 1916. They are linked inextricably to the lives of the Romanov family. Ten Eggs were produced from 1885 to 1893, during the reign of Emperor Alexander III; a further 40 were created during the rule of his son, Tsar Nicholas II, two each year – one for his mother the dowager, the second for his wife. When exploring the archives of Rolls-Royce, it can be found that the Romanovs were patrons of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars.