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"Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without." - Confucius

The name of the Fabergé family has become entwined with the exceptional egg jewels which Carl Fabergé first made in 1885 on Tsar Alexander III’s commission. The forgotten world of the breathtaking jewellers of the tsars seems to be reviving in recent years. The first Fabergé boutique of the new age opened in 2009 in Geneva, with a collection reminiscent of the brand’s traditional values. They now have boutiques in London, New York, Kiev, Qatar, and UAE as well as in further locations. This year Fabergé was inspired by the great heritage of the House, and created opulent high jewellery collections with colourful, detailed motifs and amazing gemstones.

To be sitting in a nice little Fabergé “salon” at Baselworld could be a daydream for every haute joaillerie aficionado. As I already saw a few pictures before, I was pretty enthusiastic to discover more…

Summer in Provence

Cézanne, Van Gogh, Gauguin, Picasso, Matisse and other great artists worked in Provence and were inspired by the colours, light and culture of this area. The “Summer in Provence” high jewellery collection brought the bright blue of the summer sky, the crisp white and the luscious green fields of Southern France to Basel. The set is a necklace with a detachable egg pendant, earrings and a ring, all featuring white gold, turquoises, emeralds, Paraiba tourmalines, white diamonds and hand-painted enamel.

However the collection is truly high jewellery, the pieces are comfortable and “nice to wear” jewels; one of my favourites was the domed ring with a 3.10ct round Gemfields emerald centre stone.

Summer in Provence egg pendant and the necklace


“Summer in Provence” also includes a gorgeous high jewellery timepiece, with diamonds, Paraiba tourmalines, emeralds and a garland of freshwater mother-of-pearl flowers. There is a sapphire glass also on the back of the watch enabling us to see the self-winding calibre with a very feminine oscillating weight: it is hand engraved in the shape of ribbons.

Summer in Provence high jewellery timepiece


Secret Garden

Staying with Mediterranean and French art; Fabergé dedicated its “Secret Garden” high jewellery collection to Marc Chagall, one of the most important colourists of modern art. He was a Russian-French artist, working in several artistic fields and styles. His creations included paintings, book illustrations, stained glass, stage sets, ceramics, tapestries and fine art prints. After Henri Matisse’s death Pablo Picasso noted: “Chagall will be the only painter left who understands what colour really is”. You can even find a great museum in the region (Nice), the Musée Marc Chagall dedicated to the work of the painter.

Marc Chagall, Paradise (1961), Marc Chagall Museum in Nice, 2007


Natalia Shugaeva (Fabergé’s Head Designer) took the idea of the collection from Chagall’ painting style and combined it with Peter Carl Fabergé‘s famous flower studies. The result is amazing. Not only the variety of the gemstones: pink sapphires, red spinels, Colombian emeralds, Siberian jade, green tsavorites, yellow sapphires and raspberry spinels… But also through the delicate and “flexible” setting of the stones, the special carving of the leaves (nephrite/jade and chrysoprase stones) and the colour combination make this jewellery exceptional.


Fabergé timepieces

As we heard and experienced, this year Fabergé surprised a few hardcore watch bloggers with their latest timepieces. To create the finest watches, the House collaborated with Agenhor, APRP (Audemars Piguet Renaud & Papi) and Vaucher.

The Lady Compliquée Winter is a piece that we really like to cover on our site: it is a truly female watch but houses a complicated “haute horlogerie” movement. Agenhor is an independent watchmaking company in Geneva, specializing in complex mechanical modules for watches. The dial is light blue and light grey mother-of-pearl marquetry, with a mother-of-pearl rotating hour ring, white mother-of-pearl minute-track and the hands (in the shape of a fan) are sky-blue lacquer, applied by hand.

Lady Compliquée Winter


Agenhor has already been credited for movements such as those in Romain Jérôme’s Spacecraft, Van Cleef & Arpels’s Poetic Wish, Hermès’ Temps Suspendu and Harry Winston’s Opus 9 timepieces. All these were born out of a strong vision, which required the engineering genius with no knowledge of the impossible in order to be realized. It lives in the Meyrin workshop of Jean-Marc Wiederrecht.

Fabergé’s vision was to produce two complicated timepieces – something which you rarely associate with the company – in the spirit of two imperial eggs created in 1908 and 1913, the Peacock Egg and the Winter Egg. Both timepieces present the passing of time by unfolding blades and a rotating ring around the circumference. Underneath the artistic dial the mechanism of Agenhor is responsible for all this. The manufacture created a system of differential wheels, called Agen to synchronize the opening of the blades in a smooth uninterrupted manner along a 60-degree slice. A first set is driven by the hours ring that is powered directly by the barrel; the second set is connected to the fans – the smallest diameter wheel rotates the blade travelling the largest angle, while other blades are driven by gradually larger wheels. There is a cam wheel just underneath the hours ring with 12 increasing lever-trips. Each hour after the reading lever reaches the tip of its trip and sinks into the next groove, the blades fold again and “jump back”, just as retrograde hands would do.

The calibre has another remarkable feature, an adjustment system called AgenPIT, which does not necessitate the presence of a regulator while having a ring-shaped balance. It offers accurate adjustment of the movement without the need of balance spring distortion.

See an interesting story behind the idea of the retrograde mechanics on Quill & Pad.

The Lady Fabergé collection consists of many nice variations in 36mm and 39mm. The pieces are equipped with self-winding Vaucher gold movements. They have a rose gold case, Breguet type hands (at the end of the hands there is a tiny egg shape), a crown graced with a moonstone and – among other versions – a guilloché dial with opalescent pink enamel.

Lady Fabergé


Fine jewellery

The fine jewellery lines – such as the Rococo, the Treillage, the Heritage and the Charms – also welcomed new pieces. The hot enamelling (vitreous enamel is made out of glass and must be fused to metal at temperatures in the 700-800C range), hand-engraving and quilloché are traditional techniques of the House. These fine jewellery pieces are delicate contemporary interpretations of Fabergé’s knowledge.


Photo credits: Fabergé, Loupiosity.com.
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