Twelve Monogram Egg
Hillwood Mansion, Icon Room
Fabergé (firm); Perkhin, Mikhail (workmaster)
RUSSIA: Saint Petersburg
Gold, champlevé enamel, diamonds, satin
H. 3 1/8 in., W. 2 3/16 in.
In 1885, Alexander III initiated the custom of presenting his wife, Maria Fedorovna, with a Fabergé egg each Easter. Beginning with this particular egg, Alexander III's son, Nicholas II, continued the family tradition each Easter by giving an egg to both his mother, Maria Federovna, and his wife, Alexandra. Rows of diamonds divide the egg into twelve panels. The crowned ciphers of Alexander III and Maria Fedorovna, set in diamonds, provide a simple yet elegant decoration against the dark blue enamel. Only under high magnification is it possible to notice the champlevé enamel technique. Areas for the enamel were carved out of the gold, leaving the thin red-gold ribs that form the foliate design. To the naked eye, it appears that the gold design was painted on the ovoid surface.
Bequest of Marjorie Merriweather Post, 1973