|  09 apr 2014

Maria Doulton: I'm at Wartski's in London with Kieran McCarthy, because we have something very, very special here. Can you tell me about this egg?

Kieran McCarthy: Well, here we have the Third Imperial Fabergé Easter Egg, which was commissioned by Tsar Alexander III for Maria Feodorovna for Easter 1887. Until literally moments ago, this was one of the missing Imperial Easter Eggs, and it's just been rediscovered.

Maria: Wow. How did it come to be in your hands here?

Kieran: Through the most extraordinary set of circumstances. A gentleman walked into Wartski one day, and he was the most unassuming, modest, Midwestern American you could ever imagine. He had in his hand a sheaf of photographs of this object, and I recognised them in an instant as being those of the missing Imperial Easter Egg.

We had researched the existence of this egg, and we had published articles on it, and in the forums and discussions which surrounded it, our name came up and up. When he eventually was able to realise this might be something other than just a piece of scrap gold, he found us through those research forums and our names were there, so he naturally thought the best people to bring it to would be us.

Every single day of our existence is taken up looking for these treasures, and it's not just us; these are the objects of every romantic, let alone antique dealer's, dreams and obsessions.

Well, they are modelled on hen's eggs, and the earlier ones are very refined and delicate pieces of goldsmithing, which may also partly explain why it went unidentified for so long. When you press the diamond - of course it must be a diamond - up it flips.

Maria: The perfect mechanism.

Kieran: There is a watch by Vacheron Constantin on the inside. They're an expression of love and of Easter; and of the resurrection of Christ. You see both here; the egg is representing the resurrection of Christ, but the garlands of roses encompassing it are a reference to love.

Maria: Very romantic.

Kieran: Very romantic indeed, and I think it would have been taken as a romantic gift. 

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