Empire Nephrite (Fabergé egg)

The Empire Nephrite (sometimes mistakenly referred to as the Alexander III Medallion) egg is a jewelled Easter egg, purported to be one of the Imperial Eggs made under the supervision of the Russian jeweller Peter Carl Fabergé in 1901–1902 for Nicholas II of Russia, who presented it to his mother, the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna, at Easter 1902. This provenance has been challenged by some Fabergé experts.

Empire Nephrite Fabergé egg
1902 egg open.jpg
Year delivered1902
CustomerNicholas II
RecipientMaria Feodorovna
Current owner
Individual or institutionPrivate collection, New York, United States
Year of acquisitionLast known mid-1990s
Design and materials
WorkmasterMichael Perkhin[1]
Materials usedGold, silver, steel, enamel, nephrite, pearls, two brilliants (replacements)
HeightThe egg 95 millimetres (3.7 in).; overall 215 millimetres (8.5 in)
WidthThe egg 63 millimetres (2.5 in) diameter
SurpriseMiniature portrait of Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna of Russia and Duke Peter Alexandrovich of Oldenburg (original lost)


One of the first images of Empire Fabergé egg in the mid-1990s. The loss of crown and miniature are visible.

The name of the egg refers to the fact that it was made in the Empire Style, from nephrite.[2] The original Fabergé invoice reads: "Egg, 'Empire', from nephrite, with gold, two diamonds and miniature". The egg reappeared in the mid-1990s and some Fabergé researchers were of the mistaken opinion that this egg featured a portrait medallion of Alexander III of Russia, though the original bill did not refer to a portrait of Alexander III.[3]

This mistake was result of a misinterpretation of the Moscow Armory Chamber valuables selection list. This list noted an "Egg from nephrite, on a golden base, and with portrait of the Emperor Alexander III in a medallion".[4] Because of this, many researchers were certain that the 1902 Imperial egg featured an Alexander III portrait, though there is no evidence to support this.

However, in 2015, during research by a specially commissioned group of experts, a unique historical document was brought to the attention of the experts – the "List of the personal property of the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna, located in storage at Gatchina Palace" by 28 July 1917. This 12-page booklet mentions at least 150 items, including 7 Imperial Fabergé eggs that belonged to the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna. This document was first published in 2013.[5]

On the second page of this document, as number 10, there is a description "Egg with gold mounts, on two nephrite columns, with portraits of Gr. Dss. Olga Alexandrovna and Duke P.A. Oldenburg inside". This description is the most accurate that Fabergé researchers have to date concerning the egg of 1902, which was previously mistaken for an "Egg from nephrite, on a gold base and with portrait of the Emperor Alexander III in a medallion".[6]

The egg is currently in a private collection in New York, USA.

Description in Russian of the Empire Fabergé egg in the list of items of the Gatchina Palace from 28 July 1917.

Disputed provenanceEdit

The egg's authenticity is disputed by some Fabergé experts, who believe the Empire Nephrite egg is still lost or missing.[7][8][9] Other experts, such as Fabergé specialist Geza von Habsburg, the ex-Forbes Collection’s Carol Aiken, Sotheby’s Karen Kettering, and Wartski Director Kieran McCarthy (who in 2014 authenticated the Third Imperial egg when it was found after being lost for 90 years[10]) have examined the egg and have not made any public statement to authenticate it.[11]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Will Lowes; Christel Ludewig McCanless (2001). Fabergé Eggs: A Retrospective Encyclopedia. Scarecrow Press. p. 78. ISBN 978-0-8108-3946-5.
  2. ^ 1902 Empire Nephrite Egg, Mieks Fabergé Eggs.
  3. ^ Skurlov, Valentin; Faberge, Tatiana; Proper, Lynette G. (August 1997). The Faberge Imperial Easter Eggs. Christie's. p. 183. ISBN 090343248X.
  4. ^ Tutova, Tatiana (2015). The Russian Imperial House court treasures destiny. The state historical-cultural museum-reserve "The Moscow Kremlin". p. 7. ISBN 978-5-88678-287-5.
  5. ^ Russian Empresses: Fashion and Style. Late 18th century - early 20th century. Moscow: Kuchkovo Pole. 2013. p. 373. ISBN 978-5-9950-0291-8.
  6. ^ Tatiana Fabergé, Nikolai Bachmakov, Dmitry Krivoshey, Nicholas B.A. Nicholson (ed.), Valentin Skurlov, Anna Palmade, Vincent Palmade (2017). Faberge: The Imperial "Empire" Egg of 1902. New York: Harrison Piper & Co. pp. 14–15. ISBN 978-1-5323-4228-8.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  7. ^ "Mieks Fabergé Eggs". www.wintraecken.nl. Retrieved 2021-05-23.
  8. ^ "Fabergé Research Site | Newsletter 2017 Fall and Winter". Fabergé Research Site. Retrieved 2021-05-23.
  9. ^ Ruzhnikov (2020-08-18). "To All Fabergé Fans of White Elephants | Ruzhnikov Fine Art News". Ruzhnikov. Retrieved 2021-05-23.
  10. ^ Susannah Cullinane. "Scrap metal find turns out to be $33 million Faberge golden egg". CNN. Retrieved 2021-05-23.
  11. ^ Ruzhnikov (2020-05-02). "A Fabergé Farrago of Fakes and Impostors | Ruzhnikov Articles". Ruzhnikov. Retrieved 2021-05-23.

External linksEdit