So much is known about the world of Fabergé that it's hard to imagine there is anything left untold. However, beyond the fame of the legendary Imperial Easter Eggs and connection with the Russian Tsars, there's a wealth of lesser-known facts about the world's most famous goldsmith.
Carl Fabergé didn't start the business
It was established by his father, Gustav, in St Petersburg in 1842.
Carl Fabergé joined the family business in 1864, aged 18, having done a Grand Tour of Europe during which he studied the art of the goldsmith in the collections of museums, libraries and individuals. He also undertook training in goldsmithing in St. Petersburg and a pivotal apprenticeship in Frankfurt with master goldsmith, Josef Friedman.
In 1872, when his father retired, Carl Fabergé took full control of the business and his genius and restless imagination propelled it to become the world's foremost goldsmith.
Carl Fabergé didn't make anything
Although he was an accomplished and highly-trained goldsmith, Carl Fabergé did not make the pieces himself. Production was entrusted to specialised workshops, each with their own area of expertise, operating under the guidance of a chief workmaster.
Fabergé greatly valued and respected the highly talented pool of artists, designers and craftspeople that he worked with and took the decision to establish a new headquarters that could house the previously dispersed core workshops under one roof.
In 1901, premises at 24 Bolshaya Morskaya in St Petersburg were opened. The ground floor provided a large and sumptuous showroom for displaying the latest designs, and an office for Fabergé. The floors above provided offices for the artists and designers, as well as an encyclopedic reference library containing books on goldsmithing, cutting, and polishing gems. Four workshops were housed in a five-storey courtyard building on-site, enabling efficient communication between the various functions of the business. At least a dozen or more other workshops were situated nearby.