Rolls-Royce and Fabergé combine for first Imperial Egg in a century
Rolls-Royce Motor Cars has joined forces with the House of Fabergé to create the first Fabergé Imperial Egg in 101 years. The rose gold egg decorated with diamonds and amethysts features the luxury car mark's iconic Spirit of Ecstasy hood ornament sculpted from rock crystal and a display mechanism that required computer aided design and micro-engineering to bring to life.
If there are two brands that are solidly identified with the phrase "up market," it's Rolls-Royce and Fabergé. Since 1911, Rolls-Royce has been personified by its distinctive hood ornament mascot, while the House of Fabergé is famous around the world for its Fabergé Eggs that were created for the Tsar of Russia as Easter gifts for his mother and his wife.
Between 1885 and 1917, Fabergé was commissioned by Tsar Alexander III and then his son, Tsar Nicholas II, to create 50 of what were known as the Imperial Eggs. Made out of gold, encrusted with jewels, and each containing a unique aspect intended to "surprise and delight," these were intended not only as ornaments, but as masterpieces of craftsmanship with the experts at Fabergé striving to outdo themselves year after year.
The last Imperial Egg was started, but never finished, in 1917 when Nicholas II was deposed by the Russian Revolution. Since then, no more Imperials have been created until today. Many of the earlier eggs were lost or stolen and the remaining few that have gone up for sale have fetched prices in the millions.
No price has been given, but if the materials and workmanship are anything to go by the "Spirit of Ecstasy" Fabergé Egg wouldn't come cheap if it ever went up for auction. It was conceived by Rolls-Royce Designers Stefan Monro and Alex Innes and rendered by Fabergé Lead Designer Liisa Tallgren. It was then constructed by Fabergé workmaster Paul Jones with the aid of a team of seven master jewelers. Because of the high quality and intricacy of the work, Fabergé gave it the exclusive Imperial category.
The "Spirit of Ecstasy" Fabergé Egg is 160 mm (6.3 in) tall and weighs 400 g (14 oz). It is held by an engine-turned, hand-engraved, purple enamel guilloché base of 18K white gold and consists of rose gold arms that form the shell of the Egg. These are embellished with almost 10 carats of round white diamonds on the outside, while the inner curve of each segment is coated with purple enamel and crusted with natural amethyst weighing a total of 390 carats (78 g/2.7 oz).
In the center is a stylized version of the Spirit of Ecstasy hood ornament in frosted, hand-carved rock crystal. Normally, this is caged by the jeweled arms, but pressing a small lever activates a mechanism that causes the arms to open like the petals of a flower. This device is so intricate that it required computer aided design and animation as well as micro-engineering to aid the goldsmiths at Fabergé in completing the job.
"The 'Spirit of Ecstasy' Fabergé Egg was born from an intrinsic desire to further the realms of Bespoke personalization," says Torsten Müller-Ötvös, Chief Executive Officer, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. "Responding to the continuing demands of patrons in search of unique and cherished possessions, a designer at the House of Rolls-Royce sketched an Egg, igniting a fascination that will undoubtedly become one of the most collectable items of modern times."
Rolls-Royce says that the "Spirit of Ecstasy" Fabergé Egg makes its premiere today at the House of Rolls-Royce in Goodwood, West Sussex, England. It will then go on public display over Christmas in the House of Fabergé's London window.