Everyone must have seen the mesmerizing Fabergé Imperial Easter eggs! Or at least heard of the Fabergé jewelry firm founded in St. Petersburg in 1842. The first Fabergé retail shop opened on the fashionable Bolshaya Morskaya Street, but as the 1917 revolution shook the foundations of Russia, the House of Fabergé was nationalized and the Faberge family had to flee the country.
Only in 2013 did part of the fabulous collection come back, when the Museum was opened just 15 minutes away from the first Fabergé jewelry shop. Needless to say, the collection is fabulous, but before rushing to see it, slow down and take a look at the Shuvalov Palace that hosts the museum.
An exquisite building of the highest architectural value, it is a piece of art on its own right, perfect shell for the Fabergé Eggs. The 18th century palace, designed in the style of the Italian architect Giacomo Quarenghi, hosted famous balls and became a hub for regular meetings by the country’s elite, including those close to the throne. In 1859, Nikolai Efimov and Bernard de Simon rebuilt the palace in the neo-Renaissance style, creating elaborate ceilings (with different ornaments in every room) and the fantastic staircase.
In 2009 through 2013, the first comprehensive restoration in the palace’s 200-year history was made by “The Link of Times” foundation. The Grand Staircase was in complete disrepair; there was a threat of its collapse and more than 30 hazardous zones were found in the palace. Thanks to many difficult design decisions and complex restoration, we can now visit the halls that capture the spirit of the 19th century aristocracy and see pieces of art that have been hidden for a hundred years. During the extensive restoration, doors, windows, chandeliers and marble fireplaces were carefully stripped of many layers of paint and are now displayed in their original appearance. Even a tempera painting was found under 8 layers of paint. The reconstruction of elements that were lost over time was made as close as possible to the historic iconographic materials. The beautiful eggshell of the marvelous Fabergé museum is truly a masterpiece to see if you visit St. Petersburg.