Product Design Case Study: Faberge Eggs

An overall look at Faberge eggs- imperial eggs created for the Romanov family (Russian royal family) between 1885 until 1916. An iconic design 

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  • Created by: Sian
  • Created on: 02-06-13 14:53
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  • Faberge Eggs Case Study
    • The Designer
      • Faberge learnt from expert goldsmiths across Europe, and travelled extensively to cities such as Florence in Italy and Paris in France. He would also frequent England and Germany
      • Peter Karl Faberge was goldsmith to the Russian Imperial Court
        • In his time he  is said to have made 50 imperial eggs. From this only 42 have survived
      • Born 1846
      • The Bolsheviks shut down the  Faberge workshop and production ceased. The Faberge family were forced to flee Russia
        • 1917
      • In 1951 the Faberge family lost their right to produce and market designs under their own name. However, in October 2007  the reunification  of the Faberge name was announced and a re-launch came about shortly after in 2009
    • Product Background
      • Cultural references featured through-out his work, from the sourcing of inspiration to the subject matter often featuring the Romanov family tree
      • Faberge eggs were produced for the Russian Imperial family between 1885 and 1916
        • These eggs typically took a year to make
        • 32 years
      • Easter was the most important occasion of the year in the Russian Orthodox Church- rivaling Christmas in Western cultures
      • These gifts would often have jewelled surprises hidden inside
        • for example, one known as the 'Hen Egg' had a minute diamond replica of the Imperial crown from which a small ruby pendant egg was suspended. These have been lost but the egg still exists.
      • The most expensive egg produced was the 'winter egg' which cost 24,600 roubles (then valued at £2,460). Relative to today, this egg would have cost £1.89million
    • An iconic design
      • Considered as some of the last great commissions of objets d'art
        • (An object of artistic merit and value)
      • Design provenance- The name Faberge will be forever tied with the concept of jewelled eggs, no matter who the designer.
      • With the re-launch of the Faberge brand in 2009, this product has re-emerged and become popular again while also having great influence over other designs within ornaments and jewellery.
        • High market value currently, with one 'Winter egg' sold at  auction for over  $9million in 2002
          • Desire
      • This had a great market pull at the time with the Tsar's high influence in each egg's design and the surprise inside
    • Inspiration
      • Faberge learnt from expert goldsmiths across Europe, and travelled extensively to cities such as Florence in Italy and Paris in France. He would also frequent England and Germany
      • Renaissance and Baroque design movements. But some would say his work followed Rococo because of its sometimes asymmetrical aesthetics
    • Manufacturing Process
      • Peter Faberge was apprenticed to his father as a boy. This is a traditional route into goldsmithery that is still used today. He was predominantly educated in Dresden and St. Petersburg
      • These eggs were manufactured by hand and were a bespoke item (one off manufacture/production.) Often the shells were made from enamel- a substance still used in jewellery today. This is where layers of crushed glass are painted onto a surface and slowly fired. Multiple layers were applied to build up the strength of the imperial egg while also giving a stronger colour with more depth.

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