Faberge, Karl was born on May 30, 1846 in Petersburg into a family of Huguenot origin from Picardy, which, during the flight from France changed its name to Fabri, then Fabrier, reverting to the original name only after settling in the Russian Empire (Estonia).
Learned his craft at Dresden, Frankfurt-on-Main, Italy and Paris. Took over the family jewellers’ business in St. Petersburg, 1870. Won a gold medal for his objects d’art at the Pan-Russian Exhibition in Moscow, 1882.
Made the first of the famous Easter eggs ordered by Tsar Alexander III in 1884. His world-wide fame came when his art was shown at the Paris World Exhibition, 1900. Proclaimed Maitre and given the Legion d’Honneur.
Became jeweller to the courts of Europe, especially the Romanov court. World War I and the revolution brought an end to the dreamlike world of Faberge’s art. When, after October 1917, the communist authorities came to his famous workshop on Morskaia street in Petrograd to take it into state ownership, he is said to have asked for 10 minutes ‘to put on my hat and coat’.