We saw a lot of incredible stuff, really special things I had never seen before… Not just the pieces from the large collection that already exists at the VMFA and I have seen throughout my life. M had never seen any of them, so it was special for me to share a major passion of mine with him (I am a Russian history buff).
Imperial Lillies of the Valley basket: Yellow and green gold, silver, nephrite, pearl, rose-cut diamonds, 1896. This sat on Empress Alexandra Feodorovna’s desk, in likely her mauve boudoir. She was the wife of the famous ‘last tsar’ Nicholas II.
The egg still has its “surprise”, six-panel miniature screen depicting in watercolor six regiments of which Maria Fyodorovna was an honorary colonel. Each panel has on its reverse side the royal monogram of the Dowager Empress. The screen itself is made from translucent green emeralds, rose-cut diamonds and white enamel.
The Nobel Ice Egg: rock crystal, platinum and diamonds, 1914. For a nephew of Nobel prize creator. Exterior of shell appears simple, it is a silver-pearl matte ground shell covered with alternating layers of transparent and opaque white enamel, each layer separately painted and engraved to resemble frost. The result is an icy lustre. Inside is a watch pendant, of enamel, rock crystal and diamonds.
The Empress Josephine tiara is the last special piece, created in 1890. No idea on carats, which is annoying. Lets just say a ton! Those briolettes are the size of my big thumbnail! The diamonds were a gift from Tsar Alexander I to the Empress Josephine after her divorce from Napoleon Bonaparte. This piece is one of only a few tiaras ever made by Fabergé.
You can get a book from the VMFA on the exhibition for $60, published exclusively for the VMFA by Rizzoli. Don’t you love everything that Rizzoli publishes? I do!
The American flag one I got in NYC after 9/11 in the summer of 2002. My first one was the paisley one in the top left with the malachite on the bottom. My grandparents gave it to me in 1997. The cross one I recieved for Christmas in 1999. So it was fun to get another one. They dress up any outfit and are not as kitchy as other reproductions.