Peter Carl Fabergé original name Carl Gustavovich Fabergé (May 30, 1846–September 24, 1920) was a Russian jeweller, best known for the famous Fabergé eggs, made in the style of genuine Easter eggs, but using precious metals and gemstones rather than more mundane materials.
He was born in Saint Petersburg to the jeweller Gustav Fabergé and his Danish wife Charlotte Jungstedt. Gustav Fabergé’s father’s family were Huguenots, originally from La Bouteille, Picardie, who fled from France after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, initially to Germany near Berlin, then in 1800 to the Baltic province of Livonia, then part of Russia.
Young Fabergé began his education at St. Anne's Gymnasium, the German school in Saint Petersburg. In 1860, the family moved again, to Dresden, and shortly thereafter, the teenage Carl went on a study trip, learning the jeweller’s craft at the House of Friedman in Frankfurt. In 1864, he returned to Saint Petersburg and joined his father’s business, taking over its management in 1872.
Carl and his younger brother Agaton were a sensation at the Pan-Russian Exhibition held in Moscow in 1882. Three years later, Tsar Alexander III appointed him an official Court Supplier, as a reward for making him a splendid Easter egg to give to his wife. Thereafter, Fabergé made an egg each year for the Tsar to give to the Tsaritsa Maria. The next tsar, Nicholas II, ordered two eggs each year, one for his mother and one for his own wife, Alexandra, a practice which continued from 1885 to 1917.
He became the Tsar’s Court Goldsmith in 1885. The Imperial Easter eggs were a sideline; Fabergé made many more objects ranging from silver tableware to fine jewelry. Fabergé’s company became the largest in Russia, with 500 employees and branches in Saint Petersburg, Moscow, Odessa, Kiev and London. It produced some 150,000 objects between 1882 and 1917. In 1897 the Swedish court appointed Fabergé Court Goldsmith. In 1900 his work represented Russia at the 1900 World’s Fair in Paris.
In 1917, amidst the chaos of the October Revolution, he sold his shares in the company to his employees and fled Russia. He went first to Finland, with assistance from the British Embassy, and then to Wiesbaden, Germany making stops in Riga, Berlin, Frankfurt, Hamburg. Fabergé and his wife moved to Bellevue Hotel in Lausanne, Switzerland. When he died, he was buried beside his wife Augusta in the Cimetière du Grand Jas in Cannes, France.
Fabergé had four sons: Eugéne (1874-1960), Agathon (1876-1951), Alexander (1877-1952) and Nicholas (1884-1939). Agathon fled to Finland via Terijoki and Viipuri. He settled in Kulosaari in Helsinki and studied philately and died there. He and his wife Maria are buried at the Orthodox cemetery of Helsinki. Their son Oleg Faberge (1923-1993) is also buried there.
His sons Eugené Fabergé and Alexander Fabergé founded the successor of Fabergé Co.; as of 1989 it was owned by the global cosmetics company Unilever and the jewelry licence was given to the jeweller Victor Mayer. The Fabergé workmaster continues the legacy of the famous brand and is its sole legal successor. Sarah Fabergé and Tatiana Fabergé are the last surviving descendants of Peter Carl.
In 2007 the brands and trademarks associated with the Fabergé name were acquired from Unilever by a consortium of investment partners advised by Pallinghurst Resources LLP. (Pallinghurst Resources LLP is headed by ex-BHP Billiton CEO Brian Gilbertson and acts as investment adviser to a number of investors).
Faberge is currently being re-established as a pre-eminent luxury brand. The Fabergé brand will be relaunched during 2009, in conjunction with the launch newly rationalised and revised set of product lines, which will include fine jewellery and precious stones.