May 23, 2008 / 1:55 PM / 10 years ago

Revived Faberge to create first egg since 1917

LONDON (Reuters) - A revived Faberge luxury goods group plans to resurrect its founder’s work next year with the launch of the first jewel-encrusted egg since 1917, when the Faberge family was scattered by the Russian revolution.

<p>The Renaissance Faberge egg is displayed during the exhibition "Treasures of Imperial Russia" in Croatia's Adriatic town of Dubrovnik on November 3, 2007. REUTERS/Nikola Solic</p>

A group of investors bought rights to Faberge last year -- which had been used to market cosmetics like Brut men’s fragrance -- and have been working to restore the firm to its origins with the support of the Russian founder’s relatives.

“Faberge will announce their first new collection, the first authentic, family-blessed collection since 1917, in the course of next year,” Sean Gilbertson, a partner in the Pallinghurst fund that owns Faberge, told Reuters.

The original Faberge company was founded in 1842 by Russian jeweler Gustav Faberge, who gained fame for designing elaborate jewel-encrusted eggs for Russian Tsars.

The last Faberge egg completed before the Russian revolution was military egg made of steel since gems and precious metals were not available, Gilbertson said.

Tatiana and Sarah Faberge, among the descendants of Gustav Faberge, agreed to sit on a council to restore the exclusive nature of the company.

The new Faberge will at least initially stick to the founders’ products -- objects of art, fine jewellery and items such as ashtrays and pillboxes.

“It’s very much sticking to what Faberge was originally all about. For the foreseeable future there’s no clothing or anything along those lines,” Gilbertson said.

The original Faberge family was scattered by the Bolshevik revolution in 1917, but Gustav’s grandsons who established a new Faberge firm in Paris discovered after World War Two that a U.S. businessman was selling perfume under their family name.

They launched a lawsuit, but ran out of money and ceded rights to their family name to a U.S. firm in 1951 for $25,000. The Faberge brand then went through many owners before being sold for $1.55 billion to consumer goods group Unilever in 1989. Pallinghurst bought the rights last year from Unilever for an undisclosed sum.

Faberge has appointed as chief executive Mark Dunhill, former president of Alfred Dunhill, the leather and accessories brand of Swiss luxury goods maker Richemont.

Its creative director is Katharina Flohr, former jewellery editor of Tatler magazine, Gilbertson said.

Reporting by Eric Onstad; Editing by Elizabeth Piper

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