The Faberge Museum – St Petersburg’s finest collection of jewellery!
Located on the the Fontanka Embankment, the Faberge Museum is one of my favourite museums in St Petersburg. If, like I, you are an avid fan of historical and beautiful works of decorative arts and jewellery, do not hesitate to visit this museum!
The museum was established by the ‘Link of Times’ foundation, headed by Viktor Vekselburg, a Russian entrepeneur. His aim was to repatriate as many lost Russian cultural items of value, as the Bolsheviks had sold a lot of it to foreign buyers in the 1920s. In order to do this, he bought an enormous collection of Russian jewellery, predominantly made by Peter Carl Faberge, from American media mogul Peter Forbes in 2004. And so began the basis of the exhibits on show in the Faberge museum!
The building in which the museum is situated is in itself a sight to behold. It is called the Shuvalov Palace and was completely renovated by the ‘Link of Times’ foundation. When the rebuilding started, the palace was actually found out to be on the verge of collapse as it had been completely neglected and almost untouched since the end of the Second World War. The rooms were decrepit and the bases of the building were near crumbling. However, the ‘Link of Times’ have done an outstanding amount of work. In just seven years, between 2004 and 2011, they have succeeded in giving the Faberge museum an historical appearance, and the palace interior is very much typical of what I have come to expect of the beautiful palaces of St Petersburg!
The majority of the works in the museum are made by Peter Carl Faberge, the director of the Faberge jewellery house in from the late 1800s until the October Revolution of 1917. He is very famous for his handiwork and made hundreds of incredibly beautiful items, the most famous of which are 9 Imperial Easter Eggs, all of which are on show in the museum. In 1887, Tsar Alexander III commissioned a jewel-covered Easter egg to be made by the Faberge jewellery house as a gift to his wife, Maria. Peter Carl Faberge was given complete freedom over the design of the egg and the embroidery placed on it, the only agreement in place being that each egg must contain a surprise of some sort. Not even the Tsar himself knew what to expect of the egg! It was such an amazing piece of work that Alexander commissioned for one to be made every year, and Nicholas II carried on this tradition, except he asked for two to be made every year, one for his wife and one for his mother! They are really a sight to behold and it is worth visiting the museum purely to see the elaborate design of these Easter eggs.
The museum houses one of the largest and most extensive collections of decorative artwork in the world, with over 4,000 items currently on exhibit and more being added as often as possible. Many of the items on show were in possession of the Tsarist family, as well as monarchs from all over Europe. The museum was opened on the 19th November 2013, just over a year ago today, and so it is still a rather new cultural attraction in St Petersburg. It really is worth a visit if you have a couple of hours to kill!