July 8, 2011 / 4:29 PM / 6 years ago

Faberge relaunches famous jeweled eggs

<p>The Renaissance Egg (L) and the Resurrection Egg are displayed at the exhibition "Faberge. The Sacred Images" in the Vatican Museums, April 14, 2011.Tony Gentile</p>

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - Faberge, celebrated for the Imperial eggs created by Peter Carl Faberge for Russia's ruling Romanov family, has unveiled its first new collection of couture egg creations since the Russian Revolution in 1917.

Faberge has designed 12 couture egg pendants, the "Les Fameux de Faberge" collection, retailing for up to $600,000 each. Faberge is also launching "Les Frissons de Faberge," fine jewelry egg pendants at lower price points.

Faberge is now looking to re-create high jewelry eggs by using innovative design and craftsmanship and high quality gemstones, such as its one-off Diamond Egg, made from titanium, a lightweight metal, coated with 66.4 carats of intricately cut white diamonds of high clarity. The titanium structure weighs less than the diamonds.

"We bought the Faberge brand to restore the name to its historic glory," said Brian Gilbertson, chairman of Pallinghurst Resources, which invests in natural resources and is Faberge's main shareholder.

"After its century in the shadows, the house of Faberge has returned to the international market."

Pallinghurst bought the Faberge brand from Unilever in 2007 and launched a revival of the name which had been used to market mainstream cosmetics like Brut men's fragrance.

Each of the Faberge high jewelry egg pendants is unique and based on a theme, inspired by an old Russian proverb. In Russia the egg marked the renewal of spring after the long, harsh Russian winter.

In 1917, the Russian Revolution brought an abrupt end to the Romanov dynasty, and to the House of Faberge. The company was nationalized and all production closed down.

BRAND BUILDING

Now Faberge is rebuilding the brand to revive Peter Carl Faberge's contribution to high jewelry design and craftsmanship. The re-launched company has restored ties to direct descendants of Faberge, including his great grand-daughter Sarah Faberge, who is its director of special projects.

In 1951 the Faberge family had lost the rights to use their family name in selling Faberge-labeled designs when expensive litigation forced on them a settlement that ceded these rights to an American corporation in return for just $25,000.

"A Faberge egg remains one of the truly iconic objects in jewelry history," Gilbertson said.

"We are committed to reviving the true Faberge heritage and building Faberge into a world leading, fabulous brand."

Faberge, which plans to add boutiques in London and New York to its present showroom in Geneva, will accept private commissions from high net worth customers to create eggs.

Faberge's return to London would be the first Faberge store in the city since its Bond Street store closed in 1915.

By the time of the Russian Revolution, Faberge had produced over 155,000 items spanning jewelry, objects, tableware and accessories ranging from cigarette cases to crochet hooks.

The first of the 50 world famous Imperial Faberge eggs was the "Hen Egg" of 1885, with the "Steel Military Egg" of 1916 being the last completed.

A handful of egg objects were made as private commissions, including the Rothschild egg which was sold at auction by Christie's for US $19.5 million in 2007.

The "Les Fameux de Faberge" collection will be on show at Faberge in Geneva from 18 July to 21 August.

Reporting by David Brough, editing by Paul Casciato

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