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Top 10 Most Expensive Fabergé Eggs Ever Made

Top 10 Most Expensive Fabergé Eggs Ever Made

Imagine going on an Easter Egg hunt, picking up an innocent-looking egg, and finding that, in place of jelly beans, it contained over $30 million. That’s what happened to a man at a midwestern flea market in the early 2000s. The find was no common easter egg, but the Third Imperial Easter Egg —the most expensive Faberge egg in the world.

There are only sixty-nine genuine Faberge eggs in existence, making the discovery astronomically unlikely. Seven rare, expensive Faberge eggs are still at large in the world. Theoretically, anyone on earth could discover one of these priceless treasures on a mantle or in an attic.

The reason Faberge eggs are so expensive is that there are a finite number of them on the planet. Any egg created under the supervision of Faberge himself before the year 1920 is a real Faberge egg. Each one is a singular masterpiece of historical significance, crafted for royalty using the finest and rarest materials on earth.

Here Are the Top 10 Most Expensive Faberge Eggs in the World:

  1. The Third Imperial Easter Egg
  2. The Rothschild Egg
  3. The Coronation Egg
  4. The Bay Tree Egg
  5. The Fifteenth Anniversary Egg
  6. The Lilies of the Valley Egg
  7. The Winter Egg
  8. The Order of St. George Egg
  9. The Hen Faberge Egg
  10. The Rosebud Egg

A Brief History of the Faberge Egg

Peter Carl Faberge lived in 19th century Saint Petersburg, Russia. He spent years traveling the world, investigating the finest jewelry, and becoming a master goldsmith. His recreation of an ancient Scythian bangle so impressed Tsar Alexander III that he commissioned him to craft a precious bejeweled Easter egg for his wife, Maria Fedorovna.

Maria Fedrovna was so taken by the beautiful egg that Peter Carl Faberge received a standing commission to create a royal easter egg annually. The royal family granted him full creative control and, thus, the first Faberge egg was hatched. Each egg was completely bespoke and contained a “surprise” forged in precious metals and jewels.

Each Faberge egg price is an estimate based on their rarity, as the majority are not for sale. “Complete” Faberge eggs with all of their components are highly valued artifacts. The eggs and their contents are on display in museums, galleries, and private collections throughout the world.

10. The Rosebud Egg – $4 Million

photo source: Wikimedia Commons

The tenth most expensive Faberge egg in the world is The Rosebud Egg, valued at $4 million. This egg was the first that Tsar Nicholas II commissioned for his wife, Alexandra Feodorovna. He would go on to commission two eggs each spring for twenty years: one presumably for his wife, the other for his daughter.

Why It’s Expensive

The egg gets its name from its surprise: a delicate yellow rosebud. The rosebud opens to reveal the egg’s two smaller surprises. They include a miniature diamond crown and two gem-quality rubies.

The egg’s exterior features a series of diamond-set cupid’s arrows. Partitions made of rose-cut diamonds cut the egg into quarters. Two large table diamonds flank the egg’s top and base.

This egg’s historical value comes from its status as the first of forty eggs commissioned by Tsar Nicholas II. Many of the most iconic Faberge eggs in the world once belonged to the Tsar’s wife and daughter.

9. The Hen Faberge Egg – $6 Million

photo source: Wikimedia Commons

The ninth most expensive Faberge egg in the world is The Hen Faberge Egg, valued at $6 million. It is the first official Faberge egg, fabricated in 1885. The egg was so beloved that the royal family continued to commission more, making all subsequent eggs possible.

Why It’s Expensive

This art piece answers the age-old question: “What came first, the chicken or the egg?” The Hen is the sire of all Faberge eggs to come. This designation alone implies it was historically significant and valuable.

The first egg’s surprise seems simple at first glance: a matte “yolk” crafted out of gold. The surprise comes when you open the yolk to reveal a handcrafted hen with rubies for eyes. The surprise continues when you open the hen to reveal a miniature replica of the imperial crown and a ruby pendant necklace.

This original Faberge egg is part of the permanent collection at the Faberge museum and is not for sale. Both the miniature crown and the ruby pendant have now gone missing.

8. The Order of St. George Egg – $7 Million

photo source: Wikimedia Commons

The eighth most expensive Faberge egg in the world is The Order of St. George Egg, valued at $7 million. This is the final egg gifted to Maria Feodorovna as a gift from Tsar Nicholas II. Faberge crafted the egg during World War I, which contributed to its more austere design.

Why It’s Expensive

Unlike other expensive Faberge eggs, The Order of St. George egg was not crafted with gold and gemstones. Its surprise is a simple button that reveals small portraits of Alexei Nikolaievich and Nicholas II. This egg might be so expensive because it is such an outlier compared to other Faberge designs.

7. The Winter Egg – $9.6 Million

photo source: Christie’s

The seventh most expensive Faberge egg in the world is The Winter Egg, valued at $9.6 million. At the time of its creation, The Winter Egg was the most valuable Faberge egg in existence. It is currently part of the Emir of Qatar’s private art collection.

Why It’s Expensive

The Winter Egg features 1,660 gem-quality diamonds set into cut quartz. As a result, the egg has a striking appearance. It appears to have a surface made of delicate ice crystals, an effect that only a master jeweler and artisan could achieve.

This egg’s “surprise” is equally valuable for its materials and its intricate design. It is a tiny basket of flowers with individual anemones sculpted out of crystal. The flowers sit on a bed of gold moss, and the basket contains 1,378 diamonds.

6. The Lilies of the Valley Egg – $13 Million

photo source: Wikimedia Commons

The sixth most expensive Faberge egg in the world is The Lilies of the Valley Egg, valued at $13 Million. This was one of the annual easter commissions from Tsar Nicholas II for the Tsarina.

Why It’s Expensive

This delicate, ornate egg features precious gems including diamonds, rubies, and pearls. Each pearl forms a delicate lily of the valley, carefully crafted with golden leaves, stems, stamens, and other details. A series of rose-cut diamond dewdrops enhances the piece further.

This egg’s “surprise” also adds value. When you twist a hidden pearl button, portraits of the Tsar and his daughters appear. An artist painted each portrait on ivory, framed them with rose diamonds, and backed them in gold.

5. The Fifteenth Anniversary Egg – $14 Million

photo source: Wikimedia Commons

The fifth most expensive Faberge egg in the world is The Fifteenth Anniversary Egg, valued at $14 million. Tsar Nicholas II commissioned the egg as a gift for Alexandra Feodorovna in 1911. The egg commemorates the fifteenth anniversary of the Tsar’s coronation.

The Fifteenth Anniversary Egg is a companion piece to The Bay Tree Egg. For reasons unknown, it does not contain a surprise.

Why It’s Expensive

The Fifteenth Anniversary egg is particularly ornate. Faberge’s proteges divided the egg into eighteen segments, each with a highly-rendered miniature portrait. It has a base of gold and exquisite diamond and rock crystal details.

4. The Bay Tree Egg – $15 Million

photo source: Wikimedia Commons

The fourth most expensive Faberge egg in the world is The Bay Tree Egg, valued at $15 million. It was a commission from Nicholas II of Russia in 1911 and given as a gift to Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna. The design is a bay tree, based on an 18th-century mechanical orange tree.

Why It’s Expensive

The Bay Tree egg has “fruit” made from precious, gem-quality jewels including amethysts, rubies, diamonds, citrines, pearls, white onyx, and nephrite. The individual golden leaves boast a coat of green enamel.

Among the leaves, there is a tiny level disguised as a piece of fruit. When pulled, the egg opens, revealing a songbird. The bird sings, flaps its wings, and even opens and closes its tiny beak.

It is a work of art as well as a feat of careful engineering.

3. The Coronation Egg – $18 Million

photo source: Pinterest

The third most expensive Faberge egg in the world is The Coronation Egg, valued at $18 million. Faberge proteges Mikhail Perkhin and Henrik Wigstrom crafted this egg in 1897.

It was a coronation gift for Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, the new tsarina. The artisans took inspiration from the design of her coronation robes. The “surprise” is a perfect miniature replica of Feodorovna’s coronation coach made of gold, platinum, diamonds, and jadeite.

Why It’s Expensive

The Coronation egg features dazzling, highly rated, gem-quality diamonds, which would be valuable on their own. The centerpiece is the large portrait diamond that sits at the base of the egg. A smaller portrait diamond flanked by hand-wrought golden petals sits at the narrow end of the egg.

The tiny coronation coach also adds value. Not only is the tiny vehicle made out of precious materials, but the wheels turn, the doors open, and a tiny step comes down from the open doorway. There was once an accompanying pendant that sat inside of the coach, but no one has been able to locate it.

2. The Rothschild Egg – $25 Million

photo source: Wikimedia Commons

The second most expensive Faberge egg in the world is The Rothschild Egg, valued at $25 million. French socialite Beatrice Ephrussi de Rothschild commissioned this egg in 1902 as a wedding gift for her incipient sister-in-law, Germaine Halphen. The egg belongs to the Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg, Russia.

Why It’s Expensive

The Rothschilds were a famous and powerful European banking family, known for their profound riches and their dedication to charity. Thus, the piece holds a certain historical significance. It is one of the few real Faberge eggs that was not created for Russian royalty.

Faberge fans love this egg for its pink enamel appearance and its surprise. The piece is set with a clock. On the hour, a diamond-encrusted rooster emerges from the top of the egg, dancing and crowing for fifteen seconds.

When the piece sold at Christie’s it broke three separate world records. It was the most expensive Russian object and the most expensive timepiece ever sold. It was also the most expensive Faberge object ever sold at the time.

1. The Third Imperial Easter Egg – $32.5 Million

photo source: BBC

The most expensive Faberge egg in the world is The Third Imperial Easter Egg, valued at $32.5 million. This was the third genuine Faberge egg ever crafted, commissioned by Tsar Alexander III in 1887. It is an 18-carat gold construction encrusted with gem-quality diamonds and sapphires.

The “surprise” inside of this egg was a Vacheron Constantin Lady’s watch made of 14-carat gold. The Swiss luxury watch has golden hands studded with diamonds.

Why It’s Expensive

In addition to its historical significance and the value of its base materials, The Third Imperial egg is a piece of artwork made with tremendous skill. It’s decorated with hand-crafted roses and greenery forged from a variety of golden alloys. Topping each sapphire on the piece is an impossibly tiny diamond-studded bow.

Additionally, this particular egg comes with a mystery. Its whereabouts were unknown between 1964 and 2012 when it sold at an American flea market for $14,000. The “lost egg” gained much media attention, and is now safely in the home of a private collector.

The Most Expensive Faberge Egg in the World

Only the richest and keenest collectors in the world can dream of one day owning a Faberge egg of their own. The second most expensive Faberge egg is safe in a museum, where thousands of visitors can admire its craftsmanship each year. Even if you never get to own such a one-of-a-kind treasure, seeing one on display can be a life-changing experience.

Are you interested in other objects that have taken on mythical status in our culture? You can find more lists ranking the world’s most expensive objects on the blog.