Thursday, September 5, 2013

The Imperial Faberge Eggs!

Yesterday I had to deliver a gift to one of my employer's friends, and while there the house manager was kind enough to gave me a quick tour of the downstairs.

Although the house was attractive overall it was obviously the work of an interior decorator, with no personal touches from the family to speak of - usually the telltale sign of the new rich. To me these kinds of rooms appear cold and uninviting - like being in an up-scale furniture store rather than a private home.

While I was trying to be polite, you can imagine my shock when I spotted a knock-off copy of a Faberge egg sitting in a prominent place in the formal living room. What on earth? My first rational thought was that the decorator should immediately be thrown into prison and tortured, perhaps even locked in a room full of Alexander Calder mobiles. Plus I was confused as to why the house manager hadn't taken it upon himself to accidentally break this hideous objet d'art years ago.

You see, rich people generally eschew copies of anything - going straight for the original. And failing that, they'll buy something else altogether rather than expose themselves to gossip at having knock-offs sitting around the house.

There were only about fifty Imperial Faberge Eggs created in the first place, by Peter Carl Faberge for the Tsars of Russia. Reportedly only forty-two survive, and these bejeweled eggs are valued in the multi-millions. While a few might be in the hands of a rich private collector, most are cloistered in museums around the world, especially the Kremlin Armoury Museum in Moscow.

Certainly they are not sitting on a coffee table inside the home of a new-rich family.

There are several companies offering Faberge-style eggs, some of them quite expensive, even into the low thousands. And there's nothing wrong with that - as long as they're meant for an obscure shelf somewhere, or perhaps a child's bedroom.

But for prominent display? No, don't do that. Scandal and gossip is the only possible outcome.

Here's a link to images of the Imperial Eggs. Again, each and every one worth millions. Not a bad deal for something that comes out of a chicken's butt.

Thanks for dropping in,




  1. Dear Andrew another very interesting topic ! I enjoyed the link very much !!! Thanks

    1. You know, KEK, I should have waited 'til Easter to put up this post. The Tsars in Russia ordered one egg a year from Faberge, as Easter egg gifts for their family members. But after the shock of seeing that knock-off copy the other day, I couldn't wait.

  2. Hi Andew,

    I have always heard that the old rich people look down on the new rich - which to me seems rather odd in the sense that the old rich merely inherited money without doing anything, so what's the pride in that? On the other hand, the new rich made it themselves, why shouldn't they be more proud of themselves? In light of that, do the new rich people actually look down on the old rich in return?


    - Gwen

    1. Hello Gwen,

      I entirely agree with what you've said, in terms of acquiring wealth. But the snobbery between the new and old rich lies in terms of manners and social grace. It's inbred in the old rich for decades, perhaps centuries, whereas the new rich might seem crass and clumsy, perhaps even vulgar, in their new wealth and social conduct.

      Thanks for your comment and adding to the topic. Andrew

    2. Hmmm... I understand what you are saying about the manners and social grace and perhaps traditions etc.. Though I can imagine some of these also could seem out of date. On the other hand, a lot of new rich are rather well educated bunch - think the Wall Street or the Techies in Silicon Valley - certainly not necessarily educated in the old fashioned way in regards to mannerism, etc. I would think that some of the new riches just do not want to seem pretentious, hence act in more direct manner or say things more directly - yes, that could come off as vulgar. LOL... I am just appalled to think that the new riches who worked hard and get where they are have to feel inferior in their new environment... How odd and how sad! :)

    3. There's no question that many new rich can have style, grace, and charm. In fact, in America it's easy for the new rich to rise to the very top of high society (i.e. The Rockefellers, The Astors, The Vanderbilts) and in time they become the old rich, assuming they hang on to their money. But in Europe, no matter how much wealth the new rich might acquire, they can never cross that ultimate boundary into highest society -- meaning royalty.

      In the Archives of this blog, on April 13, 2012, I actually addressed this topic in a post entitled "New Rich versus Old Rich". Hope you'll have the time to take a look.