Faberge family originated in France, but the Protestant family fled
after the Edict of Nantes was revoked in 1685. Eventually, some family
members settled in Russia. Peter Carl Faberge was born in 1846. His
education and goldsmith apprenticeship were in Germany. After
establishing himself independently in 1866, Carl continued to refine his
skills. By age 24, Faberge had inherited his father's jewelry workshop
in St. Petersburg, Russia. For ten years as head of the business, Carl
continued to produce goods similar to other jewelry makers. He also
volunteered his time to the Hermitage, a treasury which stored all of
the precious objects of the Russian czars, including gold artifacts and
ancient treasures. All of these pieces Carl helped catalog, appraise and
repair. He reorganized the business with the help of his able brother
Agathon and forever changed the face of jewelry and art.In 1882 Carl's
younger brother Agathon, a trained jeweler full of ideas, appeared on
the scene. The two made copies ancient Russian treasures and sold them.
Eric Kollin, a Finnish craftsman, helped the Faberge brothers make a
number of pieces which they decided to feature at a fair in Moscow.
Czar, Alexander III, and his wife, Czarina Maria were in attendance and
made a purchase at the Faberge exhibit. There, Carl Faberge was
presented with a gold medal honoring him as "...having opened a new era
in jewelry art".Until that time, many felt the value of jewelry was
intrinsic, based upon the precious metals and stones. Faberge felt that
the artistic creativity and fine craftsmanship of jewelry made it art
that transcended bullion value.
Goldsmithing became Carl Faberge's primary interest, and he hired
Michael Perchin, a Russian goldsmith to assist him in his experiments
with gold and enamel. Through careful examination of works of art, the
two learned and attempted to replicate techniques of earlier artisans.
Their efforts were so even the czar could not distinguish between the
original piece and Faberge's copy of a snuff successful that box in his
own collection. Soon after, Faberge became the Supplier to the Imperial
House of Faberge was staffed with some of the finest goldsmiths and
jewelers available. Interestingly enough, Peter Carl Faberge did not
actually create any of the famous eggs that bear his name. The business
was divided into several small workshops, each with its own specialty.
In addition to the fabulous easter eggs, the workshop also produced
table silver, jewelry, European-style trinkets, and Russian-style
carvings. The two mastejewelersrs most responsible for the Faberge eggs
were Michael Evlampievich Perchin and Henrik Wigstrom. Born in 1860,
Perchin became the leadinwork masterer in the House of Faberge in 1886
and supervised production of the eggs until 1903. Those eggs he
waresponsiblele for have his MP (MP- Michael Perchin) markings. All
signed eggs made after 1903 bear Henrik Wigstrom's HW mark. Of course,
not all eggs were stamped, so other goldsmiths may have supervised
production of some of the eggs.